Etymology: The name Bundi comes from the narrow valley named ‘Bandu-Ka-Nal’, ‘Bandu’ was the title given to the chief/leader of the Meena tribe and ‘Nal’ referred to the narrow ways.
Origin: Bundi school of miniature paintings originates in Bundi, Rajasthan. The earliest trances of Bundi miniatures can be traced to as early as 1591.
Location: The first paintings that would put Bundi miniatures on the art map were painted at Chunar, near Varanasi, the art travelled back to Bundi and stayed mobile around Jodhpur, Mewar, and Marwar as the artists settled in that area..
Relevance: The grandeur and beautifying nature of these paintings were appreciated and demanded by many of the Rajput royalties as it was seen as social merit to have Bundi courtesans document the royal activities and portraitures.
Significance: Bundi miniatures are a blend of Mughal & Deccan elements and styles, major themes for these paintings are ‘Krishna-Lila’, ‘Nayaka-Nayika’, ‘Barahmasa’, and other themes i.e., Royal court, festivals, wars, hunting, portraitures, and animals.
Culture and Societies: They celebrate festivities such as Rakshabandhan, Diwali, Dusshera, Holi etc. ‘Teej’ and ‘Gangaur’ are of higher cultural importance to them and the two main languages are ‘Haroti’ and ‘Khararhi’. Some of their folk dances include ‘Ghoomar’, ‘Panihari’, ‘Gheer’, ‘Kacchi Ghori’, and ‘Dandia’.
Religious significance: Hindu gods & goddesses are at the centre of their religious and spiritual beliefs. In Hinduism, religious poetry or Ragas depict the courtship between Krishna and Radha, there is a series of paintings called Ragamalas where the visual translation of written poetry can be seen.
Style: These miniatures possess a distinct representation of the human form, especially the women depicted in this style of miniatures are tall and slender with their waist sinched, ‘almond’ shaped eyes, and paired long noses
Central motifs: Artists focused primarily on the lush vegetation, greenery, flora and fauna, rivers, and dramatic clear dark skies are to showcase the hilly region. Women are drawn with exaggeration by painting their figures tall and sinched, eyes elongated, and attire heavily ornamented.
Image Source: Tripadvisor
Shifting from frescos to cloth and handmade paper, the artists now use canvas to paint these miniatures using pigments such as oil paints and watercolours as the traditional mediums.