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Manuscript Painting


 

Manuscript  Painting:

In Assam, the art of painting developed around manuscript illumination in direct response to the bhakti movement spearheaded by Mahapurusa Srimanta Sankaradeva during 15th-16th centuries A.D. The movement gave birth to a vigorous culture of literature accompanied by an artistic resurgence with multiple ramifications. The twin area of art- performing and plastic ensured for itself a uniquely Assamese style through a process of synthesis of Indian and local traditions. The genres of performing art is marked by classical fervour, while the latter comprising architecture, sculpture and painting reflected increasing preoccupation with local form as the vehicle of expression of the new social, religious and cultural revolution.

 

Two distinctive features of the cult-worship of religious scripture and community prayer instead of individual prayer as practiced in the namghar mark its distinction from its counterparts found to have been followed in the temples in other parts of India. The impulse to create the art of painting can be explained by the evolution of the former, i.e.,the cult of worship of religious scripture. People attributed to it the most venerable position in the new socio-religious order. With the growth of numerous sattras, which acted as organized centres for propagation of bhakti, throughout the warp and the woof of the Brahmaputra valley and in the kingdom of Coochbehar now in West Bengal, the cult of worship of scripture in the altar of each sattra enjoyed unprecedented impetus. The practice was also followed in the domestic chapel of each and every household in Assam. The reason behind the phenomenal growth of religious transcripts in innumerable number can alone be attributed to this practice.

The sattras used to patronize and support their own persons called khanikars to work with their penmanship. Many bibliophiles also came forward to support the khanikars for their penmanship. The local kings also did not lag behind in this respect. The Ahom kings used to patronize and support their own "army of clerks and copyists " under the supervision of a royal officer called likhakar barua, meaning superintendent of scribes. The royal court also attached a set of compartments called gandhiya bharal for preservation of royal manuscripts records and letters to the palace. The entire social situation was extremely congenial for numerical growth of manuscripts both in the palace and the abbey. The palace mostly patronized the translation and original works of secular nature, while the sattras were preoccupied with the preparation of Assamese rendering of the Bhagavata purana, the epics and other puranas bearing religious significance and importance in the context of the bhakti-cult.

 

The artists called khanikars were initially associated with copying of transcripts and make-up of actors of dramatic performance produced in the sattras. Later on, they extended the scope of their brush to decorate the folios of manuscripts in line and color. Their knowledge of brush and colour in the context of traditional dramatic presentation was of great help in defining pictorial forms for transforming verbal imageries in the pages of a manuscript. A study of the illustrated manuscripts now available in the sattras, government and private institutions and also those lying with individual household would amply substantiate the fact that the artists of the old days marked their imprint in developing a uniquely regional school of painting for Assam. It is however, a fact that this school of painting is a blending of two lines of development the Sattriya and the rajaghoriya (for its growth in the royal premises of the Ahom court). The first line of development was older than the second. On the other hand, the second line initiated the culture first with the artist of the former and subsequently established its own atelier with artists commissioned from outside Assam for the creation of a new idiom and style .

The earliest illustrated manuscript of Assam is the Adi Dasama of the Bhagavata purana rendered into Assamese verses by Sankaradeva . It has since a been published under the title . Citra bhagavata. The manuscript was recovered from a sattra named Balisattra in the present district of Nagaon. The Sattriya is attributed to the style of painting for the existence of the manuscript in the precinct of a sattra. Many more illustrated manuscripts covering three centuries including the 19th.century have been recovered from different sattras and households of Assam during last seventy years or so. Although the pictorial idiom by and large remains the same with all these works, there are stylistic variations among the artists mainly due to individual comprehension of the text and the ability of the artist in matching the verbal imagery through a parallel pictorial imagery.
 
It is interesting to note that the Citra bhagavata referred to above beas a date in the saka ear 1461. The date falls during the life-time of Srimanta Sankaradeva leading one to place the paintings as early as in the 15th.century A.D. But the pictorial style the manuscript is representing , does not suggest such an earlier date to the paintings. Moreover,the date in the manuscript was inscribed in later handwriting outside the regular colophon. Besides there are certain cultural elements, for example the muglai-pag being used as headgear of some of the pictorial figures, belong to a period of development of late 17th.century. The headgear bears similarity with its counterpart in the Mughal court of India during the region of Shahjehan (1627-1657). The presence of this element alongwith the absence of four cornered chakdar-jama worn by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the pictorial idiom of the Citra bhagavata are pointer to defermining the date of execution of the paintings in late 17th century. Dr. Motichandra has also suggested a date in the late 17th or early 18th century for the the paintings od the Citra bhagavata .There is no doubt that the artist of the Citra bhagavata derived some elements from the Jatina tradition for this painting. But his was a style distinctively regional without having its parallel in other schools of painting developed elsewhere in India. Whatever elements he had collected from extraneous sources the artist had aptly assimilated all to define his pictorial idiom which was distinctively his own. Some of the illustrated manuscripts executed between 1683 A.D. and 1731 A.D. suggest their old abode in the river island of Majuli. The execution of these manuscripts was completed immediately after the Citra bhagavata. Later on these manuscripts migrated from Majuli with the migration of the sattras which owned them to places in the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. Considering this factor it can be easily surmised that the provenance of the Citra Bhagavata, and for that matter the sattriya school, was Majuli.
 
The Citra bhagavata was followed by the execution of the illustrated Bar kirtana of Kathbapu sattra, the Bhakti ratnavali executed in 1683 in Kamalabari sattra, the Gita govinda and the Ananda Lahari seem to have rendered by a sattriya artist in the Ahom court of Svargadeo Rudra Sinha (1695-1713 A.D.) and Svargadeo Siva Sinha (1713-1744 A.D) (the Ananda-lahari can be more precisely placed during 1720 A.D. and 1721 A.D),the Ajamilopakhyana of Purana Burka sattra, the Bhagavata VIII of Pubtharia, the Bhakti ratnavali of Ratnavali-thana in Nagaon and the dated copy of the third transcript of the Bhakti -ratnavali (1731 A.D) of Karatipar Nasattra in Nagaon . The artist of Bengena-ati-sattra in Majuli rendered paintings in the folios of the Sundarakanda Ramayana in 1715 A.D. In the same year, Visnurama of Chaliha Bareghor-sattra executed the paintings of the Ajamilopakhyana nata written by the sattradhikara, Sri Ramadeva of the said sattra. Excluding the Bar-kirtana,Sundarakanda, Ajamilopakhyananata, the other seven illustrated manuscripts stated above are stylistically similar and constitute one group from stylistic consideration.
 
 
 
The earliest illustrated manuscript of Assam is the Adi Dasama of the Bhagavata purana rendered into Assamese verses by Sankaradeva . It has since a been published under the title . Citra bhagavata. The manuscript was recovered from a sattra named Balisattra in the present district of Nagaon. The Sattriya is attributed to the style of painting for the existence of the manuscript in the precinct of a sattra. Many more illustrated manuscripts covering three centuries including the 19th.century have been recovered from different sattras and households of Assam during last seventy years or so. Although the pictorial idiom by and large remains the same with all these works, there are stylistic variations among the artists mainly due to individual comprehension of the text and the ability of the artist in matching the verbal imagery through a parallel pictorial imagery.
 
It is interesting to note that the Citra bhagavata referred to above beas a date in the saka ear 1461. The date falls during the life-time of Srimanta Sankaradeva leading one to place the paintings as early as in the 15th.century A.D. But the pictorial style the manuscript is representing , does not suggest such an earlier date to the paintings. Moreover,the date in the manuscript was inscribed in later handwriting outside the regular colophon. Besides there are certain cultural elements, for example the muglai-pag being used as headgear of some of the pictorial figures, belong to a period of development of late 17th.century. The headgear bears similarity with its counterpart in the Mughal court of India during the region of Shahjehan (1627-1657). The presence of this element alongwith the absence of four cornered chakdar-jama worn by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the pictorial idiom of the Citra bhagavata are pointer to defermining the date of execution of the paintings in late 17th century. Dr. Motichandra has also suggested a date in the late 17th or early 18th century for the the paintings od the Citra bhagavata .There is no doubt that the artist of the Citra bhagavata derived some elements from the Jatina tradition for this painting. But his was a style distinctively regional without having its parallel in other schools of painting developed elsewhere in India. Whatever elements he had collected from extraneous sources the artist had aptly assimilated all to define his pictorial idiom which was distinctively his own. Some of the illustrated manuscripts executed between 1683 A.D. and 1731 A.D. suggest their old abode in the river island of Majuli. The execution of these manuscripts was completed immediately after the Citra bhagavata. Later on these manuscripts migrated from Majuli with the migration of the sattras which owned them to places in the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. Considering this factor it can be easily surmised that the provenance of the Citra Bhagavata, and for that matter the sattriya school, was Majuli.
 
The Citra bhagavata was followed by the execution of the illustrated Bar kirtana of Kathbapu sattra, the Bhakti ratnavali executed in 1683 in Kamalabari sattra, the Gita govinda and the Ananda Lahari seem to have rendered by a sattriya artist in the Ahom court of Svargadeo Rudra Sinha (1695-1713 A.D.) and Svargadeo Siva Sinha (1713-1744 A.D) (the Ananda-lahari can be more precisely placed during 1720 A.D. and 1721 A.D),the Ajamilopakhyana of Purana Burka sattra, the Bhagavata VIII of Pubtharia, the Bhakti ratnavali of Ratnavali-thana in Nagaon and the dated copy of the third transcript of the Bhakti -ratnavali (1731 A.D) of Karatipar Nasattra in Nagaon . The artist of Bengena-ati-sattra in Majuli rendered paintings in the folios of the Sundarakanda Ramayana in 1715 A.D. In the same year, Visnurama of Chaliha Bareghor-sattra executed the paintings of the Ajamilopakhyana nata written by the sattradhikara, Sri Ramadeva of the said sattra. Excluding the Bar-kirtana,Sundarakanda, Ajamilopakhyananata, the other seven illustrated manuscripts stated above are stylistically similar and constitute one group from stylistic consideration.
 
 
 
The earliest illustrated manuscript of Assam is the Adi Dasama of the Bhagavata purana rendered into Assamese verses by Sankaradeva . It has since a been published under the title . Citra bhagavata. The manuscript was recovered from a sattra named Balisattra in the present district of Nagaon. The Sattriya is attributed to the style of painting for the existence of the manuscript in the precinct of a sattra. Many more illustrated manuscripts covering three centuries including the 19th.century have been recovered from different sattras and households of Assam during last seventy years or so. Although the pictorial idiom by and large remains the same with all these works, there are stylistic variations among the artists mainly due to individual comprehension of the text and the ability of the artist in matching the verbal imagery through a parallel pictorial imagery.
 
It is interesting to note that the Citra bhagavata referred to above beas a date in the saka ear 1461. The date falls during the life-time of Srimanta Sankaradeva leading one to place the paintings as early as in the 15th.century A.D. But the pictorial style the manuscript is representing , does not suggest such an earlier date to the paintings. Moreover,the date in the manuscript was inscribed in later handwriting outside the regular colophon. Besides there are certain cultural elements, for example the muglai-pag being used as headgear of some of the pictorial figures, belong to a period of development of late 17th.century. The headgear bears similarity with its counterpart in the Mughal court of India during the region of Shahjehan (1627-1657). The presence of this element alongwith the absence of four cornered chakdar-jama worn by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the pictorial idiom of the Citra bhagavata are pointer to defermining the date of execution of the paintings in late 17th century. Dr. Motichandra has also suggested a date in the late 17th or early 18th century for the the paintings od the Citra bhagavata .There is no doubt that the artist of the Citra bhagavata derived some elements from the Jatina tradition for this painting. But his was a style distinctively regional without having its parallel in other schools of painting developed elsewhere in India. Whatever elements he had collected from extraneous sources the artist had aptly assimilated all to define his pictorial idiom which was distinctively his own. Some of the illustrated manuscripts executed between 1683 A.D. and 1731 A.D. suggest their old abode in the river island of Majuli. The execution of these manuscripts was completed immediately after the Citra bhagavata. Later on these manuscripts migrated from Majuli with the migration of the sattras which owned them to places in the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. Considering this factor it can be easily surmised that the provenance of the Citra Bhagavata, and for that matter the sattriya school, was Majuli.
 
The Citra bhagavata was followed by the execution of the illustrated Bar kirtana of Kathbapu sattra, the Bhakti ratnavali executed in 1683 in Kamalabari sattra, the Gita govinda and the Ananda Lahari seem to have rendered by a sattriya artist in the Ahom court of Svargadeo Rudra Sinha (1695-1713 A.D.) and Svargadeo Siva Sinha (1713-1744 A.D) (the Ananda-lahari can be more precisely placed during 1720 A.D. and 1721 A.D),the Ajamilopakhyana of Purana Burka sattra, the Bhagavata VIII of Pubtharia, the Bhakti ratnavali of Ratnavali-thana in Nagaon and the dated copy of the third transcript of the Bhakti -ratnavali (1731 A.D) of Karatipar Nasattra in Nagaon . The artist of Bengena-ati-sattra in Majuli rendered paintings in the folios of the Sundarakanda Ramayana in 1715 A.D. In the same year, Visnurama of Chaliha Bareghor-sattra executed the paintings of the Ajamilopakhyana nata written by the sattradhikara, Sri Ramadeva of the said sattra. Excluding the Bar-kirtana,Sundarakanda, Ajamilopakhyananata, the other seven illustrated manuscripts stated above are stylistically similar and constitute one group from stylistic consideration.
 
 
 
The earliest illustrated manuscript of Assam is the Adi Dasama of the Bhagavata purana rendered into Assamese verses by Sankaradeva . It has since a been published under the title . Citra bhagavata. The manuscript was recovered from a sattra named Balisattra in the present district of Nagaon. The Sattriya is attributed to the style of painting for the existence of the manuscript in the precinct of a sattra. Many more illustrated manuscripts covering three centuries including the 19th.century have been recovered from different sattras and households of Assam during last seventy years or so. Although the pictorial idiom by and large remains the same with all these works, there are stylistic variations among the artists mainly due to individual comprehension of the text and the ability of the artist in matching the verbal imagery through a parallel pictorial imagery.
 
It is interesting to note that the Citra bhagavata referred to above beas a date in the saka ear 1461. The date falls during the life-time of Srimanta Sankaradeva leading one to place the paintings as early as in the 15th.century A.D. But the pictorial style the manuscript is representing , does not suggest such an earlier date to the paintings. Moreover,the date in the manuscript was inscribed in later handwriting outside the regular colophon. Besides there are certain cultural elements, for example the muglai-pag being used as headgear of some of the pictorial figures, belong to a period of development of late 17th.century. The headgear bears similarity with its counterpart in the Mughal court of India during the region of Shahjehan (1627-1657). The presence of this element alongwith the absence of four cornered chakdar-jama worn by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the pictorial idiom of the Citra bhagavata are pointer to defermining the date of execution of the paintings in late 17th century. Dr. Motichandra has also suggested a date in the late 17th or early 18th century for the the paintings od the Citra bhagavata .There is no doubt that the artist of the Citra bhagavata derived some elements from the Jatina tradition for this painting. But his was a style distinctively regional without having its parallel in other schools of painting developed elsewhere in India. Whatever elements he had collected from extraneous sources the artist had aptly assimilated all to define his pictorial idiom which was distinctively his own. Some of the illustrated manuscripts executed between 1683 A.D. and 1731 A.D. suggest their old abode in the river island of Majuli. The execution of these manuscripts was completed immediately after the Citra bhagavata. Later on these manuscripts migrated from Majuli with the migration of the sattras which owned them to places in the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. Considering this factor it can be easily surmised that the provenance of the Citra Bhagavata, and for that matter the sattriya school, was Majuli.
 
The Citra bhagavata was followed by the execution of the illustrated Bar kirtana of Kathbapu sattra, the Bhakti ratnavali executed in 1683 in Kamalabari sattra, the Gita govinda and the Ananda Lahari seem to have rendered by a sattriya artist in the Ahom court of Svargadeo Rudra Sinha (1695-1713 A.D.) and Svargadeo Siva Sinha (1713-1744 A.D) (the Ananda-lahari can be more precisely placed during 1720 A.D. and 1721 A.D),the Ajamilopakhyana of Purana Burka sattra, the Bhagavata VIII of Pubtharia, the Bhakti ratnavali of Ratnavali-thana in Nagaon and the dated copy of the third transcript of the Bhakti -ratnavali (1731 A.D) of Karatipar Nasattra in Nagaon . The artist of Bengena-ati-sattra in Majuli rendered paintings in the folios of the Sundarakanda Ramayana in 1715 A.D. In the same year, Visnurama of Chaliha Bareghor-sattra executed the paintings of the Ajamilopakhyana nata written by the sattradhikara, Sri Ramadeva of the said sattra. Excluding the Bar-kirtana,Sundarakanda, Ajamilopakhyananata, the other seven illustrated manuscripts stated above are stylistically similar and constitute one group from stylistic consideration.
 
One of the major contributions to the art of painting in Assam was the Lava kusar yuddha. The manuscript is undated. Its pictorial style is developed better than that of the Citra bhagavata and those executed between 1683 and 1732 A.D.
The illustrious Ahom King, Svargadeo Rudra Sinha (1695-1713 A.D), commissioned the services from artists outside the Ahom kingdom, rehabilitated them in his court to constitute the royal atelier. One of the artists produced the paintings of the Gajendra -cintamani in 1713 A.D. Its text was again illustrated in 1734 A.D. under the title Hastividyarnava by Dilbar and Dosai. Another copy of the Hastividyarnava was illustrated during late 18th century by an unknown artist well-versed in the court palette. The manuscript is presently owned by Auniati-sattra in Majuli.
 
The region of the Ahom king, Svargadeo Siva Simha, was remarkable for his patronage towards the development of the court style of painting. He supported the rendering of as many as six manuscripts in line and colour. The manuscripts are the Sankhacudavadha (1726), Brihatushagita (1730), Hastividyarnava (1734), Dharmapurana ,(1735),Bhagavatapurana VI (1737) and Saila parva (1735-1744).
 
The emergence of Chaliha Bareghar sastta as the house of artists in the very vicinity of the Ahom capital at Gargaon enriched the satriya school with its contributions of Visnurana"s Ajamilopakhyananata (1715), Adhyatma-ramayana (a few folios have survived) and Purnakama"s Sundarakanda (1767) of the Adhyatma-ramayana. Purnakama"s Sundarakanda represents the grand assimilation not only of the local court and the sattriya styles but also several elements derived from different schools of Indian painting.
In 1769 the Moamariya rebels usurped the Ahom throne and caused the collapse of the court atelier. Chaos and restlessness continued to rule the society for several decades. A few artists of the court moved to some sattras where they resumed their work a new and produced the Udyogaparva, the Kirtana (1771) of Checha sattra and the Sanskrit Bhagavata purana VI (1785) of Karchung sattra. During the period of unrest in the Ahom territory, the Darrang court under Krishnanarayana patronized and supported a few artists of the sattriya tradition for rendering painting in the paper of the Bhagavata purana, VIII (1804), Tirtha-Kaumudi and Anadi Patana. The style of these manuscripts present slovenly draughtmanship and an inferior palette alongwith folk treatment of forms.
 
The 19th century, which was also a period of unrest particularly its first few decades, contributed a lot and enriched the repertoire of Assamese painting. The illustrated Kirtana (1800) of Nogora-sattra, the Parijata harana (1836) of Ai-bheti Na-sattra, the Bhakti pradipa and Nimi nava siddha samvada (1817) of Samaguri-sattra are some of the examples worthmentioning. In 1836 the Ahom prince, Purandar Simha, whom the British company placed on the throne for a very short period after the fall of the Ahom kingdom during the Burmese aggression, commissioned the services of one Durgaram Betha for illumination work in the folios of the Brahmavaivarta purana (now in the British library,London). It was a masterpiece of the 19th century. According to J.P. Losty, "this is the last of the great ones, in which the native Assamese style has triumphantly reasserted itself over the desiccated Ahom court style" (Marg.Vol.XXXVI,No.1,p.27).
 
Side by side with the sattras and the courts, there emerged a few bibliophiles who had extended support to individual artists for illustration work in manuscript folios. The paintings of the Kumaraharana of Dichiyal sattra is said to have rendered by an artist patronised by one Sandikoi probably during the region of Rajeswar Simha (1751-1769 A.D). Similarly the post-colophon in the Dergaon Kirtana (1805 A.D) reads the name of a bibliophile named Hazarika Yadu Baruah, the falcon-master.
 
The above named illustrated manuscripts have been tried to place in chronological order considering the date of their execution. Some of them are undated and in that case an approximate period of their execution is ascertained with the help of whatever information in respect of the patron kings is available in the text. Stylistic consideration is also taken into account in this respect.
Two types of carriers are used in Assam for writing the text and drawing paintings. The carriers are known as sancipat, which is derived from the bank cotton. The artist of the Citra- Bhagavata used tulapata for his text and the corresponding paintings. The text and picture follow each other and the narration continues in several strips. The strips are horizontal in nature. In the sattriya style of painting, the picture panel is divided into two registers constituting active and negative spaces for pictorial narration. Pictorial figures are set in the active space is such a manner that they move horizontally in the frame through time. Like the script, the pictorial figures can be read one after another. Space in indicated not by landscape but by the figures. Verticality of space to define different planes for the pictorial figures is nowhere attempted by the artists. Most of the panels depict more than one event happening in many moments of time. Correlation between the events is achieved either through placing a couple of figures on either side of an imaginary dividing line showing their backs to each other or by placing them aface. Arches are created to compose space cells for enclosing the figures and differeutiate one from the other. A linear rhythmical movement is thereby assured in the picture frame. The hands of the figures are usually in some symbolic gestures to convey a dialogne. This device ensures movement to otherwise static figures. Colour creates contrast rather than harmony., figures stand out boldly from the surface which is monochrome in its ubiquitous red trees and landscapes are filled with flat patches of colour. The effect is that of a filigree ornament. At its developed state of the Sattriya style, flowing objects like creeper like tree,shaw etc. are placed in the immediate foreground as space indicator for the freeze of the figures. The Kali-damana panel of the Bhagavata purana X, now preserved in the Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti, is a fine example of it with the great snake, Kali, running horizontally on the foreground. Similarly the linear rhythmical movement of the river Yamuna in Ruci Bapu"s Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) divides the picture space into foreground and background and enriches the panel with a plaeasant aesthetics. The artist"s primary concern is to narrate the story and as such perspective plays no part ibn the compositions. He lays emphasis on detail to render his pictures true to the text. This is evident from the depiction of birds , trees, and animals inhabiting the landscape and also from the narration of events one after another in chronological order. There are quite a lot of paintings in the entire repertoire of illustrated manuscripts of Assam which present the artists concern for details.
 
The idiom developed in the Ahom court with brush and paletter foreign to the sattriya artists created a new aesthetics in the Assam school of painting . The artists who migrated from outside Assam tried their hands first in drawing and painting some figures of elephants in a lot of horizental folios of the Gajendracintamoi avoiding the complexities of local landscape and human figures, architecture and others in their paintings. Probably because they were new in the region and hesitant for nor being able to absorb wholly or partly the local cultural heritage, pictorial motifs and others. In 1726 one of the artists of the court painted the Sankhacudavadha but with methods and devices followed by the artists of the Mughal court. He introduced the device of a series of space cells, largely architectural, for enclosing the principal points of interest. The artists of the Hastividyarnava and others painted in the court of Siva Simha (1713-1744 A.D) succeeded in judicious application of the device. The sttriya artist Purnakama of Chaliha Bareghor sattra and also the anonyneous artist of the Syamanta Harana following the trail contributed several paintings of worthmentioning value in a single manuscript. The artist of the Rangali Kirtana of the court of Rajesvara Simha attempted for a cross fertilization between the Sattriya and the court idioms by retaining monochrome background in red and arch canopies of the Sattriya side by side with the court palette. He developed a new idea of successive rock ranges inhabited by animals and allowed the negative space to be vibrant for more expansive story telling. Ruci Bapu also followed the device in his Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) but with little success.
 
The artists of both the styles were primarily concerned with story telling through pictorial forms. Their comprehension of the text both at the level of context and there provided them with success in matching verbal imagery with parallel pictorial imagery. Just like the reader, who feels the movement of the text through a series of verses, the beholder of the paintings feels the same through the picture-frames he is beholding.
Side by side with the sattras and the courts, there emerged a few bibliophiles who had extended support to individual artists for illustration work in manuscript folios. The paintings of the Kumaraharana of Dichiyal sattra is said to have rendered by an artist patronised by one Sandikoi probably during the region of Rajeswar Simha (1751-1769 A.D). Similarly the post-colophon in the Dergaon Kirtana (1805 A.D) reads the name of a bibliophile named Hazarika Yadu Baruah, the falcon-master.
 
The above named illustrated manuscripts have been tried to place in chronological order considering the date of their execution. Some of them are undated and in that case an approximate period of their execution is ascertained with the help of whatever information in respect of the patron kings is available in the text. Stylistic consideration is also taken into account in this respect.
Two types of carriers are used in Assam for writing the text and drawing paintings. The carriers are known as sancipat, which is derived from the bank cotton. The artist of the Citra- Bhagavata used tulapata for his text and the corresponding paintings. The text and picture follow each other and the narration continues in several strips. The strips are horizontal in nature. In the sattriya style of painting, the picture panel is divided into two registers constituting active and negative spaces for pictorial narration. Pictorial figures are set in the active space is such a manner that they move horizontally in the frame through time. Like the script, the pictorial figures can be read one after another. Space in indicated not by landscape but by the figures. Verticality of space to define different planes for the pictorial figures is nowhere attempted by the artists. Most of the panels depict more than one event happening in many moments of time. Correlation between the events is achieved either through placing a couple of figures on either side of an imaginary dividing line showing their backs to each other or by placing them aface. Arches are created to compose space cells for enclosing the figures and differeutiate one from the other. A linear rhythmical movement is thereby assured in the picture frame. The hands of the figures are usually in some symbolic gestures to convey a dialogne. This device ensures movement to otherwise static figures. Colour creates contrast rather than harmony., figures stand out boldly from the surface which is monochrome in its ubiquitous red trees and landscapes are filled with flat patches of colour. The effect is that of a filigree ornament. At its developed state of the Sattriya style, flowing objects like creeper like tree,shaw etc. are placed in the immediate foreground as space indicator for the freeze of the figures. The Kali-damana panel of the Bhagavata purana X, now preserved in the Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti, is a fine example of it with the great snake, Kali, running horizontally on the foreground. Similarly the linear rhythmical movement of the river Yamuna in Ruci Bapu"s Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) divides the picture space into foreground and background and enriches the panel with a plaeasant aesthetics. The artist"s primary concern is to narrate the story and as such perspective plays no part ibn the compositions. He lays emphasis on detail to render his pictures true to the text. This is evident from the depiction of birds , trees, and animals inhabiting the landscape and also from the narration of events one after another in chronological order. There are quite a lot of paintings in the entire repertoire of illustrated manuscripts of Assam which present the artists concern for details.
 
The idiom developed in the Ahom court with brush and paletter foreign to the sattriya artists created a new aesthetics in the Assam school of painting . The artists who migrated from outside Assam tried their hands first in drawing and painting some figures of elephants in a lot of horizental folios of the Gajendracintamoi avoiding the complexities of local landscape and human figures, architecture and others in their paintings. Probably because they were new in the region and hesitant for nor being able to absorb wholly or partly the local cultural heritage, pictorial motifs and others. In 1726 one of the artists of the court painted the Sankhacudavadha but with methods and devices followed by the artists of the Mughal court. He introduced the device of a series of space cells, largely architectural, for enclosing the principal points of interest. The artists of the Hastividyarnava and others painted in the court of Siva Simha (1713-1744 A.D) succeeded in judicious application of the device. The sttriya artist Purnakama of Chaliha Bareghor sattra and also the anonyneous artist of the Syamanta Harana following the trail contributed several paintings of worthmentioning value in a single manuscript. The artist of the Rangali Kirtana of the court of Rajesvara Simha attempted for a cross fertilization between the Sattriya and the court idioms by retaining monochrome background in red and arch canopies of the Sattriya side by side with the court palette. He developed a new idea of successive rock ranges inhabited by animals and allowed the negative space to be vibrant for more expansive story telling. Ruci Bapu also followed the device in his Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) but with little success.
 
Side by side with the sattras and the courts, there emerged a few bibliophiles who had extended support to individual artists for illustration work in manuscript folios. The paintings of the Kumaraharana of Dichiyal sattra is said to have rendered by an artist patronised by one Sandikoi probably during the region of Rajeswar Simha (1751-1769 A.D). Similarly the post-colophon in the Dergaon Kirtana (1805 A.D) reads the name of a bibliophile named Hazarika Yadu Baruah, the falcon-master.
 
The above named illustrated manuscripts have been tried to place in chronological order considering the date of their execution. Some of them are undated and in that case an approximate period of their execution is ascertained with the help of whatever information in respect of the patron kings is available in the text. Stylistic consideration is also taken into account in this respect.
Two types of carriers are used in Assam for writing the text and drawing paintings. The carriers are known as sancipat, which is derived from the bank cotton. The artist of the Citra- Bhagavata used tulapata for his text and the corresponding paintings. The text and picture follow each other and the narration continues in several strips. The strips are horizontal in nature. In the sattriya style of painting, the picture panel is divided into two registers constituting active and negative spaces for pictorial narration. Pictorial figures are set in the active space is such a manner that they move horizontally in the frame through time. Like the script, the pictorial figures can be read one after another. Space in indicated not by landscape but by the figures. Verticality of space to define different planes for the pictorial figures is nowhere attempted by the artists. Most of the panels depict more than one event happening in many moments of time. Correlation between the events is achieved either through placing a couple of figures on either side of an imaginary dividing line showing their backs to each other or by placing them aface. Arches are created to compose space cells for enclosing the figures and differeutiate one from the other. A linear rhythmical movement is thereby assured in the picture frame. The hands of the figures are usually in some symbolic gestures to convey a dialogne. This device ensures movement to otherwise static figures. Colour creates contrast rather than harmony., figures stand out boldly from the surface which is monochrome in its ubiquitous red trees and landscapes are filled with flat patches of colour. The effect is that of a filigree ornament. At its developed state of the Sattriya style, flowing objects like creeper like tree,shaw etc. are placed in the immediate foreground as space indicator for the freeze of the figures. The Kali-damana panel of the Bhagavata purana X, now preserved in the Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti, is a fine example of it with the great snake, Kali, running horizontally on the foreground. Similarly the linear rhythmical movement of the river Yamuna in Ruci Bapu"s Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) divides the picture space into foreground and background and enriches the panel with a plaeasant aesthetics. The artist"s primary concern is to narrate the story and as such perspective plays no part ibn the compositions. He lays emphasis on detail to render his pictures true to the text. This is evident from the depiction of birds , trees, and animals inhabiting the landscape and also from the narration of events one after another in chronological order. There are quite a lot of paintings in the entire repertoire of illustrated manuscripts of Assam which present the artists concern for details.
 
The idiom developed in the Ahom court with brush and paletter foreign to the sattriya artists created a new aesthetics in the Assam school of painting . The artists who migrated from outside Assam tried their hands first in drawing and painting some figures of elephants in a lot of horizental folios of the Gajendracintamoi avoiding the complexities of local landscape and human figures, architecture and others in their paintings. Probably because they were new in the region and hesitant for nor being able to absorb wholly or partly the local cultural heritage, pictorial motifs and others. In 1726 one of the artists of the court painted the Sankhacudavadha but with methods and devices followed by the artists of the Mughal court. He introduced the device of a series of space cells, largely architectural, for enclosing the principal points of interest. The artists of the Hastividyarnava and others painted in the court of Siva Simha (1713-1744 A.D) succeeded in judicious application of the device. The sttriya artist Purnakama of Chaliha Bareghor sattra and also the anonyneous artist of the Syamanta Harana following the trail contributed several paintings of worthmentioning value in a single manuscript. The artist of the Rangali Kirtana of the court of Rajesvara Simha attempted for a cross fertilization between the Sattriya and the court idioms by retaining monochrome background in red and arch canopies of the Sattriya side by side with the court palette. He developed a new idea of successive rock ranges inhabited by animals and allowed the negative space to be vibrant for more expansive story telling. Ruci Bapu also followed the device in his Bhagavata purana X (1765 A.D) but with little success.
 
The artists of both the styles were primarily concerned with story telling through pictorial forms. Their comprehension of the text both at the level of context and there provided them with success in matching verbal imagery with parallel pictorial imagery. Just like the reader, who feels the movement of the text through a series of verses, the beholder of the paintings feels the same through the picture-frames he is beholding.
 
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