MALA FRAGMENT, RAJASTHAN, COMPRISING NINE SILVER AMULETS, SEVEN HOUSING MINIATURES UNDER GLASS, GOUACHE ON PAPER AND TWO HOUSING PHOTOGRAPHS, 32-47 x 30-39 MM. PHOTO: DOMINIC THOMAS. COLLECTION OF THE AUTHOR – TAASA Review September 2021
Naivete of expression and simplicity of purpose frequently leads to an undervaluing of works such as the pilgrimage paintings. Folk miniatures are often dismissed due to the crudely drawn or swiftly coloured portrayal of the subject, executed by artists with the aim of producing multiple images with speed. Neither this nor the status of devotees who originally acquired the works and wore them with love should detract from their impact and aesthetic value.
The lack of self-consciousness which is the hallmark of folk painting, and the sheer joy which is communicated, bears witness to this devotional intent. These miniatures do not fit into the category of formalized art history, nor can they be evaluated solely on the basis of aesthetics.
The artist depicts the stories, deities or pilgrimage sites as the focus of the work and through this simple visual language conveys a complexity of doctrine with deep spiritual connotations for the wearer...