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Jammu Ragamala Paintings

Sukhdev Singh Charak (Author)
Synopsis Ragamala paintings have a special significance in the world of art which has not so far been fully realised. They not only display their own technique and art of colour and line but express, interpret and exhibit the soul/spirit and beauty of another art, the art of music, the art of svara-laya and cultivated/cultured voice. Music was considered to be of divine origin and was supposed to possess the property of evoking an ecstatic state of mind or mood, called rasa-anubhuti, in the musician as well as the listener. This conception of rasa is the basis of all art in India. The Sadhakas (practitioners) of music devised some formulas in order to capture and comprehend the divine quality of music and to evoke rasa or brahmananda. These were formulated in the form of prayers in which the conceptual form, dhyana-murti, of the raga was described. Thus the ragas were personified or deified. This fact provided a rich and expressive theme to Indian painters and it has considerably enriched the art treasure of India. Whether the dhyana-theory of ragas is sientific or otherwise it certainly furnished a rich source of theme for the Indian artists who painted some of the most charming and inspiring pictures representing the ragas (melodies). The two Ragamala MSS discovered in a manuscripts collection at Jammu are a part of the extensive art treasure created all over India during the period from 16th to 19th centuries. The Jammu Ragamala paintings were done expressly with the usual object of depicting their dhyana-murtis or icons in order to create the relevant rasa situation in those looking at them. According to Dr. Charak, the analyser of these sets, it is the background setting, the dhyana of the raga and mood of the nayikas or nayakas which animate the whole composition by providing scope for picturesqueness, fascinating use of colours, contours and the charm of variety and vigour, which are the chief features of the Jammu Ragamala paintings.
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About the author

Sukhdev Singh Charak

M.A. (History), M.A. (Political Science), Ph.D., D.Lit. (V.U.S.), Adeeb Fazil and a keen student of history, culture and art Dr. Charak has to his credit a large number of books on history and culture, including 8 volumes on History and Culture of Himalayan States, 2 annotated English translations of Persian historical works Gulabnama and Rajadarshani, Life and Times of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, A Short History of Jammu Raj, Indian Conquest of Himalayan Territories, Gen. Zorawar Singh (published by Govt. of India), and several others in addition to over 50 research papers. His studies in Pahari art for over 20 years have culmination in the book Pahari Styles of Indian Murals, which is an introductory volume on the forthcoming comprehensive analysis of Documented Photo-preservation of Jammu Wall Paintings on which project he worked for five years as Emeritus Fellow of Jammu University. Also he was Senior Fellow of ICHR from 1977 to 1980. He has retired as Reader in Medieval History and Culture. Dr. Charak is a man of many parts and a thoughtful Urdu poet. His two collections of Urdu poetry, Abrobar and Saraktey Saey, have been published. His bio-data figures in many biographies, including Biography International, Reference India and Sahitya Akademi's Who's Who of Indian Writers.

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Bibliographic information

Title Jammu Ragamala Paintings
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1998
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170173558
length 80p., Plates; Bibliography; Index.