India Art and Culture

— An entire book of Indian art online.

Photo of 'a young prince' by Lala Din Dayal, 1890.

There’s nothing like finding vintage that appeals to my taste. I wish I could dress like this little prince. The quilted robe looks comfortable even under all the heavy jewels.

While browsing the Internet Archive, I came across India Art and Culture 1300-1900. The book has bits of pieces of Indian art. Some of the designs are familiar in contemporary home design and it’s interesting to read about its origins, like the poppy print (scroll down) that came from the 17th century.

"This dialogue between a fragile, ladylike iris and a loomingly regal tulip, attended by an embarrassed little tulipa montana, far transcends botany. The artist has so elevated and humanized these flowers that we approach them as we should Shah Jahan himself, his very distinguished lady friend, and an estimable servant, who averts his glance and seems not to know quite what to do with his foliage."

Tulips and an iris, Mughal, late 17th century. Flowered silk, late 17th century.

"Denaturalized flowers, stems, buds, and leaves are arranged in repeated arabesques, conveying essences of growth and calling to mind earthier cousins—the folkloristic bangles that combine vegetal and serpent forms in a romp of fertility."

The famous poppy print from the Mughal period, a detail from a floor spread.

"To sit and eat upon at courts of the Mughal period, printed and painted cotton dastarkanas, or floor spreads, sometimes referred to as 'summer carpets,' were stretched out… During the luxurious late seventeenth century, scores of artistically marvelous textiles, representing months or even years of work by skilled craftsmen, were used once or twice, and discarded as too worn for princely use."

A watercolor done of a bluebird, late 18th century

There are plenty of illustrations in this beautiful book. Take a look for yourself.

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