A young jewellery designer and a freelance artist are among the approximately 40 people who wish to keep the centuries-old Kotah miniature art form alive by inculcating it in their modern professions.
Participating in a 10-day ‘Kotah Miniature Art Workshop’ organised by the Kotah royal family-run Rao Madho Singh Museum Trust at City Palace, the participants said they got to learn and practice the skills and techniques at length.
“Miniature art is a detailed art form. I have been using oil colours to design jewellery, but I am now excited to apply miniature art jewellery designing,” young jewellery designer Varun Sisodia told PTI.
Sisodia said he got influenced by the works of fifth-generation artist Mohammed Lukmaan (65), who also led the workshop.
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Fascinated by the art form when she first visited City Palace, Parul Jain, a chemical engineer, said she planned to apply the miniature form in the accessories she designs during her free time.
“The workshop has given me a chance to learn various dimensions of miniature art forms as I have already been working with Kota Doria fabrics, abstract and traditional patterns and other folk art forms. This miniature skill is going to help me a lot,” said Mandeep Sahani, a freelance artist.
Jaidev Singh, the Kotah royal family scion, said the workshop was aimed at imparting the art form’s knowledge to the next generation, given that the number of miniature painting artists is dwindling.
“The workshop was aimed at engaging with miniature artists in Kota and also allowing those interested to learn the intricacies of the Kotah School of Art. We hope this is the first of many such workshops at the City Palace,” he told PTI.
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“Kotah Miniature Art is extremely well-known among art historians and it needs to be preserved and transferred to the next generation,” he added.
Mohammed Lukmaan, who trained the participants, said hardly few experts of the art form were left.
His ancestors had moved to Kota from Iran around 300 years ago, and took up miniature painting under the tutelege of the erstwhile Bundi royal family.
They later moved to Kotah state and began working for the royal family here.
Kotah miniature paintings are characterised by medium heights and almond-eyed human faces.
“The Kotah miniature painting style is almost the same as that of Bundi miniature. However, the use of sharp blue and green colours, miniature pictorials of forests and hunting scenes, small human figures with almond shaped-eyes, sharp facial features, bell shaped skirts over the knees are the chief characteristics that makes the Kotah style different.
“Figures of elephants in hunting scenes became world famous because of their beautiful shapes,” he said.