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28 July 2003 0842 BST
Indian Miniature Paintings
Tuesday 8 July - Sunday 14 September, 2003

Maharaja Ram Singh II of Kotah at the Gangour Festival, c.1850. Photo: James Austin.
The 25th anniversary celebrations at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts continue with a special exhibition of Indian Miniature Paintings.


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Down to Earth exhibition


25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Centre

Norfolk culture listings

graphic: open quote marks.One of the most important private art collections in Europe. The Sainsbury family continues to share with us a joy in creation for which we should be truly gratefulgraphic: close quote marks.

Ian Collins Eastern Daily Press 2003

The Indian Miniature Paintings exhibition is on from
Tuesday 8 July until Sunday 14 September 2003

Lower Gallery
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
University of East Anglia

Open Tuesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays) 11am to 5pm (open to 8pm on Wednesdays)

Admission £2, Conc. £1

Telephone: 01603 593199

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This wonderful exhibition is dedicated to the 32 jewel-like Indian Miniature Paintings of the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection.

The paintings, with their vibrant colours and meticulous detail range in date from 1525 to 1850.

Some of these works were painted for the Hindu rulers of Rajasthan or the Mughal Court in Delhi, which introduced Persian painting styles to Indo-Islamic art.

There are also examples of Pahari paintings of the Punjab Hills and the lively compositions of the Southern Indian Deccan.

Miniature, but not small

Pic: Portrait of Sultan Jamshid Qutb Shah of Golconda. Photo: James Austin.
Portrait of Sultan Jamshid Qutb Shah of Golconda, (r. 1543-50), India, Deccan, Golconda, c. 1680, Photo: James Austin

It should be noted that the term "miniature" does not refer to their scale but instead originally referred to the symbolic use of red lead, or ‘minium’ in early Indian painting.

These beautiful and delicate paintings range from the majesty of the court, showing the maharajas and their palaces, flowing robes, opulent jewellery through to images from everyday life.

Scenes depict gentle sensuous love stories; Rajas; the god Krishna.

There are intricate backgrounds with lush foliage and formal front lines of flowers.

We can see singers with musicians playing their sitars, tamburs and cymbals.

One painting shows elephants fighting, with attendants trying to distract the animals by letting off firecrackers, and then running for cover.

Pic: Ladies bathing in a garden, India, Punjab Hills, Guler, c.1750 -75. Photo: James Austin
Ladies bathing in a garden, India, Punjab Hills, Guler, c. 1750-75. Photo: James Austin

Another delightful painting with muted colours shows young girls chatting beside a pool and playing among the lotus flowers.

First public display

While a small selection of these miniatures can be found in the Reserve display, the group has never before been shown together.

These captivating works have been recently conserved and reframed.

The Sainsbury Centre is delighted to be showing these paintings in their full glory to mark it's Jubilee year.


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