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Marwar Murals (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAS471
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 1977
Pages: 159 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 500 gm
Book Description
About The Book

Marwar has had a long and chequared history of Murals. But curiously enough these murals did. note come to the notice of any art critic so far. In this book is presented for the first time a detailed account of these murals and their place in Indian art.

After analysing the representative examples of these murals, Dr. Agrawala concludes that a distinctive school of murals painting sprang up in Marwar, Which during the reign of Maharaja Takht Singh (1843-1873) reached the peak of maturity in places like Nagpur and Jodhpur. In spite of Persian and other foreign influences these murals drew their strength and beauty from the genius of the place.

To convey a sense of their richness and subtlety, Dr.Agrawala offers a close analysis of the style and technique of the murals and thinks that such an analysis is far more rewarding in art criticism than an analysis based on historical records, social accounts and cultural history. Nevertheless the murals have been examined against their backgrounds as well.

An Indispensable book for anyone who wants to study the art of Marwar murals, Dr.Agrawala has enhanced the value of this book by reproducing a substantial selection on unpublished murals.

About the Author

R.A. Agrawala (b-1942), a most unassuming scholar, who has. already Won great appreciation and admiration at the hands of out standing scholars in the field i.e. Late Dr. Vasudeo S Agrawala (B.H.U, Varanasi), took master's. degree in Painting as well as in ancient Indian History and Culture and obtained Ph.D. in the year 1968 on his thesis entitled Material Culture in Rajasthani and Himachal Paintings, Under the guidance of late Dr. Vasudeo S. Agrawala, and D.Litt. in the year 1975 for work on Rajasthani Wall Paintings From University of Agra. He has a are privilege of receiving guidance on art appreciation from a very well Known Art Critic Prof. V.R. Ambedkar, Bombay during his stay at Sir J.J.Institute of Art Bombay for all India Sequential Courses in Art in 1970-71.

The Present scholarly work MARWAR MURALS a virgin field of research, so far is the result of the author's long and intensive tours in Rajasthan. He is the author of an earlier work, Fundamentals of Plastic Art'. He has contributed several research papers in various Journals of repute. Since 1962 onwards he has been teaching History of Art and Painting in the Department of Art, Meerut College (Meerut University), Meerut.


Mural culture has an age-old tradition in India. Sanskrit treatises and Shilpa texts provide interesting examples of wall paintings in abundance. The two Chinese pilgrims Fa-hein and Hsuan Tsang, who travelled length and breadth of our country, dating back to 5th and 7th centuries A.D., have spoken very high about the buildings enlivened with beautiful murals. Since the discovery of picture galleries at Ajanta, Sigiriya (Ceylon) and Brihadishvara temple (Tanjavur), scholarly interest has gradually been developing to know the intricacies in the paintings done on various wall-surfaces, of different periods and in different regions.

Unlike the South, Northern India could not preserve and protect the ancient mural tradition during Muslim period due to the pro longed disturbances. It is in the late sixteenth century with the advent of the Mughals that again one gets glimpses of the revival of culture and paintings more in the feudal Rajasthan where a congenial atmosphere to flourish these arts viz. music, miniatures and murals was created to charm the surroundings. As a result Rajput Rajas enjoyed comparatively much better and peaceful days which gave impetus to cultural activities in different parts of the erstwhile Rajputana State. Now Maharajas and their thakurs and sardars were desirous to decorate the walls of their palaces, havelis and temples to match better than those of the Mughals, in finish and exuberance. This way they tried to make the buildings more meaningful and restful and due to this zeal and patronisation of mural tradition, it did not lag behind to any other art expression in their respective states of Bundi, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, etc.

To my wonder. Marwar, with its centre at Jodhpur which is crowned by a spectacular fort that rises on a scraped rock, bears a number of the architectural excellencies unravelled by the curious art lovers and historians. Plethora of inlay and mural works is exhibited in the grand fort of Jodhpur. Likewise, Nagaur fort arrests our attentions for its fastidious rooms and pretty murals in them.


Painting in ancient India was integrated with the social life of man. It revealed a cultivated taste and was a mark of man's personal achievement. The Chitrasutra rightly laid down that it best owed on man the four-fold goals of human life; may, it led to mangala, (auspiciousness and prosperity).

Wall painting was a normal feature of the ancient India. Very early references to this are found in both the Samskrita and Pali texts. The Ramayana of Valmiki notes their existence:

Bharata's Natyasastra enjoins the importance of wall paintings in the audotoria:

Varied interesting information on wall painting is available in the Puranas. The Chitrasutra of the Vishnudharmottara Purana offers an encyclopaedic knowledge on painting including the wall painting. The other similiar texts are: the Chitralakshana by Nagnajit, Bhoja's Samarangana-Sutradhara, Somesvara's Mansollasa, Sri Kumara's Silparatna, chapters in the Narada-Silpa, etc. Vatsyana's Kamasutra and Yasodhara's Jayamangala commentry on it also make interesting references to wall paintings. The string of Samskrita Kavyas and Natakas present an invaluable material on wall painting. (This is not the proper place to go into complete details). Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa refers to the deserted Ayodhya and the painted female figures on the pillars. The Meghduta mentions variegated wall paintings in the city of Alaka, "comparable with the rain-bow". Syamalika's Chaturbhanj complains against the dindis, who delighted in spoiling the wall paintings.

I presume that the only reference to the wet fresco in the Samskrita literature appears in Bhasa's play, the Pratijna-Yaugandha rayana, where the Vidushaka remarks that the more he burnished the painted surface, the "brighter" it looked, and that even when the surface was washed with water, the scene did not suffer any more. Since we have not so far discovered one single example from the surviving murals of pre-Mughal period, this solitary reference becomes all the more important.


Various Etymons of Marwar The seemingly endless stretch of the vast desert to the west of the Aravalli hills is known as Marwar-a great land of the brave In ancient times, this part of Rajasthan was known as Maru, Marusthala, Marusthali. Marumedini, Marumandala, Marva, Marudesa, Marukantar, and Marudhara, all of which mean a barren and deserted land. The word "Marwar, in current use, seems to be the corruption of the word "Maruvana" which signifies a part of desolate and sandy land, where water is hardly available for survival of agrarian life.

Geographical Extensions

Marwar lies between latitude 24.36' and 27.42'N and longti tude 70.6 and 75.24'E. It measures from north-east to south west up to 512 Kms. and from north to south, 272 Kms, thus covering a total area of about 58,514 sq. Kms.

Marwar state is bounded on the north by Bikaner, on the east by Jaipur, Kishangarh and Ajmer, on the south-east by Ajmer Merwara and Udaipur (Mewar), on the south by Sirohi and Palan pur, on the south-west by the Rann of Kutch, on the west by Thar Parkar and Sindh, and on the north-west by Jaiselmer. The map of Marwar state appended here has been drawn keeping in view the history of Rathore House with its centre at Jodhpur and the political ascendancy of Rao Bika in 1488 which, as a result, had given rise to a separate school of painting and culture at Bikaner.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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