The Pahari Paintings of Mid-17th Century
The early Pahari paintings of the mid-17th century were in the Basholi style (dubbed so because of its association with the king of Basholi).
These are extraordinarily colourful and charged with vitality and emotion. Two persistent strains can be observed - a fondness for the portraits of the local rajas in plain white garments and for the gods of the Hindu pantheon.
The paintings bear resemblance to Rajasthani and Malwa paintings but this can be attributed to the fact that the kings of the princely states in Himachal were Rajputs.
Some of the telling characteristics are the use of extremely elegant two-dimensional architectural settings topped by domes or pavilions, bands of scrollwork pattern and the use of elaborately figured rugs.
There are many striking works in this genre as the Basholi style, with its strong indigenous Indian element, is well suited to the portrayal of many-headed Shivas and many-armed Durgas (figures from the vast stockpile of Indian mythology).