Pahari drawings are sketches by artists of the states located in the foothills of the western Himalayas. These states, some thirty in all were ruled by Hindu rajas, and comprised Jammu (Kashmir), the northern hill region of the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Garhwal (in modern-day Uttaranchal). From about' C.E. 1630, court painting flourished in this remote and beautiful region thanks in large part to long periods of peace and prosperity.
Over the past sixty years many museums and collectors have avidly sought out Pahari miniature paintings, whose poetic imagery, vibrant colours, and meticulous workmanship have an immediate appeal. Although much has been written about them, relatively little attention has been devoted to drawings done by the same painters. The main reason for this neglect is the lack of access to good drawings, a fact that has meant that drawings have generally neither been studied in adequate depth nor properly published, because drawings traditionally remained part of the artist's stock and were not delivered to the patrons of their paintings.
About half of the Pahari states became centres of painting from the 17th to 19th century, but drawings are known mainly from Guler, Jammu, Kangra and Chamba, and secondly from Basohli, Mankot and Bandralta. This catalogue showcases examples from these schools, the best drawings by the Guleri artist brothers Manaku and Nainsukh, as well as by their sons and grandsons, who were active at Guler, Jammu, Basohli and Chamba from about 1730 until 1825. Of great significance for study is the museum's unparalleled collection of Chamba drawings, most of them being published here for the first time.
This publication, the inaugural volume in the series of catalogues of the Museum's drawings, is the first serious study of Pahari drawings — in fact, of any school of Indian drawings. It showcases some of the finest drawings by Pahari painters and discusses in depth all aspects of their production, themes and historical details.