With a Foreword by Smt. Kapila Vatsyayan;
v, 304p., 222 Col. & 24 B/W Illus., App., Bib., 29 cm. (N.C. Mehta Collection, Volume I)
CONTENTS:- 1. N.C. Mehta: The Making of an Art Connoisseur 2. The Indigenous Jaina Style Paintings from Gujarat 3. Patronage: Ministers, Intellectuals, Businessmen and Jaina Acharyas 4. Kalpasutra as Universal History, Patan Pictorial Styles 5. The Archetypal Life of Mahavira and other Tirthankaras 6. Kalakacharya Katha: Narratives of the Life of Kalakacharya 7. Cosmological Illustrations of Sangrahani Sutra 8. Balagopala Stuti Paintings 9. Unfolding the Meaning of Gita Govinda Paintings, Early Gita Govinda of N.C. Mehta Collection 10. Shringara Paintings based on Chaurapanchashika verses
The world renowned N.C. Mehta collection of Indian miniature paintings assembled by Nanalal Chamanlal Mehta represents most of the schools and wide range of themes from 16th to 19th centuries. It is housed in the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in Ahmedabad since 1993 and consists of all the representative schools and styles of Indian miniature painting. In the present Volume the author has covered illustrated Jaina Manuscript paintings which are published for the first time along with the early Gita Govinda illustrated folios. The Chaurapanchashika paintings based on the llth century poet, Bilhana's 50 verses, are the piece de resistance of this volume. It is the contention of the author that all these exquisite sets of paintings were painted in Gujarat, therefore, they represent the Gujarati School of painting. Hence, the title of the book is 'Gujarati School and Jaina Manuscript Paintings', and is the first ever attempt to locate the western Indian painting style within Gujarat. The present author has systematically built the theory that the so-called Western Indian style of Jaina paintings was essentially the contribution of Gujarat with epicentre at Patan. To support this view point the author has put together elaborate documentation concerning the extensive manuscript writing patronized by the inspiring Jaina acharyas and the munificent businessmen community. Significantly the names of a few painters have also been discovered. A whole chapter is devoted to the Kalpasutra paintings which include Panchakalyanakas, five essential episodes of Tirthankaras, followed by chapters on Kalaka Katha and Sangrahani Sutra illustrations. The author has analyzed how the paintings of Vaishanava themes and Shringara subject matter have emerged out of the Jaina style of Gujarat. The profusely illustrated early Gita Govinda is extensively published for the first time which establishes that the Gujarati artists initiated the pictorialization of poetic themes of divine and human love culminating with the most creative Chaurapanchashika paintings. Their poetic content has been quite eloquently interpreted by the author. In conclusion the author points out the unique nature of the language of Indian pictorial art and how Gujarati artists immensely contributed towards giving it a character. The highly respected eminent art historian, Smt. Kapila Vatsyayan's Foreword endorses many of the author's ideas and methodology.