Traditional craftsmanship > Basohli Paintings

Basohli Paintings

Basohli Paintings

Basohli Paintings is a fusion of Hindu mythology, Mughal miniature techniques and folk art of the local hills, evolved in the 17th and 18th centuries as a distinctive style of painting. This style of painting derives its name from the place of its origin - hill town of Basohli about 80 Km. from the centre of district Kathua in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

The most popular themes of Basohli Paintings come from Shringara literature like Rasamanjari or Bouquet of Delight ( a long love poem written in 15th century by Bhanudatta of Tirhut Bihar ), Gita Govinda and Ragamala. These paintings are marked by striking blazing colors, red borders, bold lines and rich symbols. The faces of the figures painted are characterized by the receding foreheads and large expressive eyes, shaped like lotus petals. The painting themselves are mostly painted in the primary colors of Red, Blue and Yellow.

This style of painting was first introduced to the world in the annual report (1918-19) of the Archaeological Survey of India published in 1921. At that time this style was yet to be properly categorized and studied. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy was the first to publish them, in Rajput Paintings in 1916.


Contributed by Senjooti Roy, CEE

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