Rajasthan has carved a niche for itself in the arena of painting. Rajasthan's fascinating miniature paintings are renowned the world over. Rajasthani painting combines the exuberance of bright primary colors with the vigor of strong, bold lines. Early paintings illustrated religious and rhetorical texts such as Bhagavata, Purana, Gita Govinda, Ramayana and Rangamala. From the mid 17th century, court portraiture and genre scenes gained in importance. The style of rajasthani Painting differs from state to state and from thikana to thikana (minor fiefdom). A variety of social, religious and ethno-cultural differences gave rise to many distinct schools, the four major ones being Mewar, Marwar, Hara (Bundi-Kota) and Dhundhar (Amber-Jaipur). Several minor ones include Kishangarh, Alwar and Ajmer. Each school having an inimitable and distinctive style.
- All over Rajasthan, one can see brightly coloured murals. These murals done in the folk art style, depict processions, battles and folk deities. The murals in the palaces of Bikaner, Udaipur and Bundi are classical works of art and have been rendered in the miniature style.
The frescoes of Shekawati are world renowned and the region is popularly termed as an 'Open Air Art Gallery'.
- Phad paintings, depicting the life of Pabuji a local hero, now deified are predominately red and green coloured long scrolls carried by the Bhopas. They are unfuried by these itinerant balladeers of Rajasthan, who narrate in song the legend of pabuji on auspicious occasions to the accompaniment
of the folk instrument 'Ravanhatta'. Made by the joshis of Shahpura, near Bhilwara, Phads are now also available in smaller panels portraying single incidents or characters from the epic.
- The Pichhvais are cloth paintings hung in temples. These Pichhvais depicting Lord Krishna as Shrinathji in different moods, are hung behind his image in the temple and changed according to the season.
Done in dark rich hues on rough hand-spun cloth, they have deep religious roots and are devotionally rendered by the painters. Today, Pichhvais are being painted in Udaipur and Nathdwara.
- It is
the folk craft of decorating houses. Red sand and chalk powder
are used to make designs on floors and walls. This art is quite
popular in the rural areas of Rajasthan. Different types of square,
rectangular and floral designs are made, suitingsthe particular
seasonor festival. Several Mandana motifs
have started appearing on blockprinted textiles also.