Ragamala Paintings: An Afghan Legacy

Ragamala Paintings: An Afghan Legacy

These medieval paintings unite poetry, art and classical music in gorgeous ways

Charu Soni
February 17 , 2017
Less than 1 Min Read

The long-forgotten Afghan kingdoms of Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda in the Deccan left little trace of their 200-year-rule except for a few ruined cities and 200 great paintings known as Ragamala (the necklace of ragas), which set the standard for miniature painting in India. These invaluable paintings are distinguished by the cultural and aesthetic synthesis of the delicate rhythms of Persia, the lush sensuality of South India and the restraint of European and Ottoman Turkish portraiture. According to art historians, the Bijapur paintings rival the finest Safavid and Mughal work in its expression and technical refinement. Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1579-1627), a poet and musician, gripped with passion for both Hindu and Muslim thought, was its most dedicated patron. Like other hybrid arts, it bloomed vigorously and then abruptly vanished in the 19th century.

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