Mughal Deccan painting or Deccani painting is the form of Indian miniature painting produced in the Deccan region of Central India, in the various Muslim capitals of the Deccan sultanates that emerged from the break-up of the Bahmani Sultanate by 1520. These were Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar. The main period was between the late 16th century and the mid-17th, with something of a revival in the mid-18th century, by then centered on Hyderabad.
The high quality of early miniatures suggests that there was already a local tradition, probably at least partly of murals, in which artists had trained. Compared to the early Mughal painting evolving at the same time to the north, Deccan painting exceeds in “the brilliance of their color, the sophistication and artistry of their composition, and a general air of decadent luxury”. Deccani painting was less interested in realism than the Mughals, instead of pursuing “a more inward journey, with mystic and fantastic overtones”.
Other differences include painting faces, not very expertly modeled, in three-quarter view, rather than mostly in profile in the Mughal style, and “tall women with small heads” wearing saris. There are many royal portraits, and although they lack the precise likenesses of their Mughal equivalents, they often convey a vivid impression of their rather bulky subjects. Buildings are depicted as “totally flat screen-like panels”. The paintings are relatively rare, and few are signed or dated, or indeed inscribed at all; very few names are known compared to the generally well-documented Mughal imperial workshops.
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