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Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

[Ayodhyā]

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced c. 700 bc, as is indicated by the occurrence of the earliest variety of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and a few sherds assignable to a late stage in the production of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The NBPW is very well fired, thin-sectioned, with a shining surface and showing a variety of colours: steel grey, coal black, indigo, silver, even gold. In the earliest levels the houses were of wattle and daub, but later they began to be constructed of kiln-fired bricks. Terracotta ringwells were used for disposing of sullage water. Concomitantly, systems of coinage (punch-marked and uninscribed cast coins) and weights (cylindrical pieces of jasper, chert etc) also came into being, laying the foundation of urbanization in the Ganga Valley around the middle of the 1st millennium ...

Article

Bhagwan  

Philippa Vaughan

[Bagwan]

(fl late 1570s–c. 1600).

Indian miniature painter. His career illustrates the difficulties experienced by Hindu artists in adjusting to the demanding patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). His nine folios in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’, c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615) are the largest group by a single artist, indicating that he must have worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’, c. 1567–82, alternatively dated c. 1562–77); however, the tracing and awkward juxtaposition of Persian models show that the task was alien to him (fols 23r and 25v). Where Hindu conventions, and especially female forms, could be introduced, he was more confident (fol. 62r). This was a feature of his work in the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’, 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS AG. 1683–1850; fol. 93 designed by Lal, coloured by Bhagwan). Nonetheless, in many of the nine folios, to which he was assigned as colourist with the masters ...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Banvari; Banwari Kalan; Banwali Kalan]

(fl c. 1570–c. 1596).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was a lesser artist active throughout the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). He worked on two folios in the Ṭūṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’, c. 1567, alternatively dated 1556–60; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A., 62.279) and thus would have participated in producing the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’, c. 1567–82, alternatively dated c. 1562–77). His single contribution to the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’, c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 36r) is an awkward composition of carefully traced models from Persian sources. However, his work in the large-scale manuscripts of the 1580s, such as the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’, 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850, fols 15, 34–5, 62, 122 plus one sole composition fol. 168), shows he was a competent colourist. Further, he had a sole composition in the Tīmūrnāma (‘History of Timur’, ...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Kesu; Kesu Kalan; Keshava Kalan]

(fl c. 1570–c. 1602)

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he is best known for his copies and adaptations of European prints, of which the most famous is St Matthew the Evangelist. Signed Kesu Das and dated ah 996 (ad 1587–8), this is based on an engraving by Philip Galle after Maarten van Heemskerck. Kesu Das’s understanding and transformation of European techniques in rendering volume and space made a decisive contribution to the evolution of the studio under the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). Named fifth of the seventeen painters listed in order of seniority in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration as it was c. 1590, Kesu Das was well established by the early 1580s and thus would have worked on the great Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82, alternatively dated 1562–77). In the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 46r...

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

[Dasavanta]

(fl c. 1560; d 1584).

Indian miniature painter. His name indicates that he was a Hindu. According to Abu’l-Fazl, writing in the Ā’īn-i Akbarī, the annals of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), Daswanth was the son of a palanquin-bearer (kahār) who worked in the royal workship. He was a favourite artist of the emperor Akbar, who discovered his talent and sent him to the master painter ‛Abd al-Samad for training, and in ‘a short time he surpassed all painters and became the first master of the age’ (Eng. trans., p. 114). He is known mainly for his highly imaginative and original compositions, where the irrational tends to dominate the realistic. Contemporary writers described him as a madman, and Abu’l-Fazl acknowledged that some critics preferred the more naturalistic work of the painter Basawan.

Daswanth’s earliest known works are illustrations of the Ṭū ṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’; c. 1556–61, other scholars prefer ...

Article

Dhannu  

Philippa Vaughan

[Dhanu]

(fl c. 1580–c. 1600).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was established in the studio of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605) by the early 1580s and thus would have worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82; alternatively dated 1562–77). His five compositions in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fols 38r, 41r, 41v, 75r and 104v) are imaginative, with some attempt at naturalism in drawing and palette. His single contribution to the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850, fol. 12) was as the colourist of a design by Basawan, although in the Tīmūrnāma (‘History of Timur’; 1584; Bankipur, Patna, Khuda Bakhsh Lib., 269) he was the sole artist of two illustrations (fols 178v and 269r) and worked as a colourist on designs by Basawan (fol. 53...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Khem; Kemkaran]

(fl c. 1580–c. 1605).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was 13th of the 17 artists listed in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605) as it was c. 1590. As he was established by the 1580s, probably having worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82; alternatively dated 1562–77), his fine composition in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 89v) qualified him to work in several capacities on the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850): as sole artist (fols 27, 53 and 107), as designer (fol. 28) and as colourist (fols 78 and 165). Perhaps he was a poor teacher, or a slow worker, for in the other manuscripts produced by teams of artists his few illustrations were sole compositions: Tīmūrnāma (1584...

Article

J. Marr

[Rāmeśvaram]

Island off the south coast of Tamil Nadu, India. Linked to the mainland by a causeway, Rameswaram is sacred to Hindus because of its legendary connections with the god Rama. The principal temple is the Ramalingeshvara, an extensive complex at the northern end of the island. Although the temple was founded by the Chola rulers of the 9th–13th century ad, only a few shrines on the west side of the enclosure can be dated confidently to the 12th century; most extant parts belong to the Nayaka period (16th–17th century). Like most later temples in southern India, the Ramalingeshvara consists of a series of enclosures entered through monumental gates (Skt gopuras). The eastern gopura, begun in 1640, was completed in the 20th century and stands over 40 m high. The intermediate enclosure is surrounded by long colonnaded corridors; those on the north and south sides are each 205 m long. The colonnades are supported by piers standing on a moulded base and crowned with large pendant lotus brackets; some of the ceilings have faded paintings of figures and decorative medallions. At the centre of the complex are the twin shrines of Shiva Ramalingeshvara and his consort Parvati, preceded by a columned hall (...

Article

[Trichinopoly]

City on the Kaveri River c. 400 km south-west of Madras in Tamil Nadu, India. An important Hindu religious centre since the 7th century ad, it is dominated by an immense granite rock some 85 m high, on the summit of which is a modern shrine dedicated to the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Hewn into the rock on the south side are two caves, the uppermost dating from the time of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I (reg c. 570–630) and the lower to the Pandya era (c. 8th century). The façade of the upper temple is of squat, octagonal pillars bearing Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions executed in beautiful Pallava script. Inside, at the east end, is a bare cell; opposite this is an important sculpted panel representing the descent of Ganga into the hair of Shiva, who is shown surrounded by devotees. The lower cave is a columned hall (...