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A rare Glimpse of the Golden Period of Nathdwara Painting

  • Published
    26th Feb, 2022
Context

Recently, a new book features 60 miniature works from the collection of the late Gokal Lal Mehta.

About

About Nathdwara paintings:

  • Nathadwara is a small town some 40 kilometres north of the Udaipur city in Rajasthan.
  • The Nathdwara School of Painting is a subset of Mewar School and is seen as an important school in 17th and 18th century.
  • Nathadwara is the present headquarters of the Pushti Margiya Vaishnavite cult
  • The art practice includes haveli-painting traditions like pichhvais—textile wall hangings as the backdrop of Srinathji, and other embroidered designs and murals
  • Nathdwara paintings are of different sub-styles of which Pichhwai paintings are the most popular.
  • The word Pichhwai derives from the Sanskrit words pich meaning back and wais meaning hanging.
  • These paintings are cloth paintings hung behind the image of the Hindu god Shrinathji.

Styles of Rajasthani Painting:

Starting from the 16th century, when the Rajasthani Painting originated, the main schools emerged, including:

  • Mewar School: Chavand, Nathdwara, Devgarh, Udaipur and Sawar
  • Marwar School: Jodhpur, Kishangarh, Bikaner, Nagaur, Pali and Ghanerao styles
  • Hadoti School: Kota, Bundi and Jhalawar styles
  • Dhundar School: Amber, Jaipur, Shekhawati and Uniara styles

About Pushtimarg:

  • Pushtimarg is a form of Krishna worship or adoration as founded by Shri Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 AD), a Telugu Vaidiki Brahmana, who was also the propounder of Shuddha-Advaita or pure nondualism.
  • Vallabhacharya was a contemporary of Sri Krishnadeva Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire, and attended his court to participate in a prolonged debate on the merits and demerits of Dvaita and Advaita philosophies. 
  • Pushtimarg is a variant of the Bhaktimarg or the path of devotion, which is mentioned in the Bhagavadgita as the direct and the simplest approach to achieve liberation.
  • It centers around pushti bhakti.
    • Pushti means nourishing and bhakti means devotion.
    • Pushti bhakti means nourishing the soul with divine love and happiness through devotion and selfless service to Lord Krishna, the supreme deity. 
  • Unlike the nondualism (Advaita) of Shankaracharya, Vallabhacharya’s pure nondualism (Shuddha Advaita) regards the world as the creation of Krishna are real, not an illusion.
  • It is the physical or material aspect of Krishna himself.
  • All the deities who are part of God’s creation arise in him and exist in him.
  • Therefore, as suggested in the Bhagavadgita, one should worship Krishna only to attain him rather than worshipping the lower gods, demi-gods, etc.
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