Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Indian Marbling

Expand Messages
  • Jake Benson
    Hello Again, Sorry about forgetting to add the link. the piece is displayed ona web site that sells Indian Art. http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/PA22/ I
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2001
      Indian Marbling Hello Again,

      Sorry about forgetting to add the link.  the piece is displayed ona  web site that sells Indian Art.


      I received a response from the company today, who informed me that the artist is :     

      Kailash Raj
      63 Model Basti,
      New Delhi-110005.

      I have asked some more questions about the method they use for marbling, i.e. whether they use Fenugreek for size.  They did tell me that he grinds all of the pigments  from "stones".

      I don't have the item number of the original item at hand that is kept in the Metropolitan Nuseum of Art in New York.  There are several examples of "The Nag".  One in the Boston Museum of Fine arts is almost exactly the same as the one at the Sackler Museum at Harvard, but in reverse.  It shows that the stencils were used over and over again.   To me, this illustrates that stencil marbling was done in a "production environment".  While many have associated the style of painting on some of the pieces, particularly the portraiture, with the school of Bijapur, under the 'Adil Shahi dynasty, and in partciular with the ruler Ibrahim 'Adil shah II.  It seems to me that the association is less clear with regard to the animal paintings, and animal fighting scenes (gereft o gir).

      The late Mark Zebrowski was one of the only scholars to tackle this subject in some detail in his book:

      Deccani Painting (am missing publisher-  I think it's UC Berkely Press), 1983.

      Mark was instrumental in  drawing attention to this style of painting.   Before he died, he co-authored a book with George Michell :

      The Architecture and Art of the Deccan.  The New Cambridge History of India vol.1.7.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.1999.

      In this volume he discusses some new material, including a piece ( though it's not pictured ), which is attributed to having been given as a gift on August 11, 1493 to a Sultan Ghiyathuddin Khalji in Mandu in 1493 (page 183).  If it could be verified, it would prove to be the oldest datable example of marbling in the Islamic World.   He also discusses a manuscript that was executed under the Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, where in some of the paintings, angels wings have been made from marbled paper cut outs (black and white image pg. 194), applied as d├ęcoupage.  He mentions another scene depicting a simurgh, or fantastic bird, made with the same cut-out technique though it is unfortunately not shown.  The black and white photo doesn't serve us well to really see the marbling he mentions.  It is also curious that he doesn't mention marbling in connection with the Nizam Shahi dynasty, who were relatives of the Ottomans.  Some had supposed that there may have been a  connection with Ottoman marbling, but until we have more evidence can we determine that for certain.  Both the Qutb Shahi and 'Adil Shahi were related to Turkic dynasties in Iran.  All of the dynasties were avowedly Shiite in their religious beliefs, making them sympathetic to the Safavid dynasty in Iran, and enemies of the Sunni Mughal dynasty.   They were also very much influenced by local Hindu beliefs, resulting in a very unique philosophical synthesis when compared to other philosophical and mystical currents in the Islamic world.  

      Unfortunately, it seems that Zebrowski missed some important research regarding marbling in India that was published by Yves Porter in his book, Peinture et Arts du Livre, and published in English as Painters, Paintings, and Books.  Manohar Publishers, Delhi, 1995.  That book is an excellent resource discussing almost all of the different book arts in India, relying heavily on manuscript sources and other primary evidence.   It is due to Porter's research that we now know the oldest datable technical treatise on marbling to be a section in a book entitled Risala-ye Khoshnevesi, which is spuriously attributed to Adbullah Seyrafi, a 15th c. calligrapher.  There is a colophon in praise of the Mughal Emporer Akbar which is dated to 1540.  This manuscript has never been fully translated, though Porter discusses some of the information in his Chapter on decorated papers.

      None of this is my own original scholarship.  I am hardly qualified to fully examine these subjects and rely heavily on the works of others who have done the real work.  I just try and research what I can, when I can, where I can.  I hope that other marblers will be interested in examining these materials and learning more....      

      Jake Benson       

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.