With paintings tracing back to the Neolithic age, the miniature paintings we know today took form during the 17th century AD in the Western Indian Himalayas. Having the significant influence of mural paintings, miniature paintings were initially done on palm leaves which further developed onto paper. The prominent themes are Krishna Lila, Mayika Bheda, Ritu Chitra, Raga Ragini's and Panchatantra. The dawn of the Mughals in India led to the focus of miniature paintings shift to portraits and richness of colours with a distinct Persian touch.

As the name suggests, miniature paintings are small paintings that portray phenomenal and unravelling stories through intricate details. The paintings boast delicate brushwork, a medley of colours and balletic patterns. Miniature paintings delineate the fierce diligence of love elucidated on a spectrum of materials such as paper, wood, ivory, marble, palm leaves, cloth and panels. Ethereal colours are conceived by using organic and natural minerals such as real gold and silver dust and stone dust.

The earliest miniature paintings date back to the 7th century AD. In the 15th century, the Persian influence led to the replacement of palm leaves with paper. Significant appearances of hunting scenes and distinct facial types started flourishing the paintings alongside the rich gold and aquamarine blues. Remarkably, the colours used for paintings are extracted from natural sources like precious stones, minerals, gold dust, silver, indigo and vegetables.

Key Takeaways of Miniature Paintings

  • Get your hands on the key features of miniature paintings which are listed below: Miniature paintings are made on a very minute or micro scale
  • There are prominent least seven schools of miniature painting which are the Pala School, Orissa school, Jain school, Mughal school, Rajasthani school, Pahari school and Deccan School.
  • The miniature paintings we know today have a significant influence of the Mughal and Persian style which was developed during the 17th century
  • Natural colours and materials are used for painting such as gold and silver dust, vegetables, precious stones and minerals among others.


The Schools of Miniature Paintings

Moreover, there are different schools of miniature paintings of India beginning from the Pala style. The seven schools of Miniature Paintings in India are:

  1. The Pala School of Miniature Painting
  2. The Jain School of Miniature Painting
  3. The Mughal School of Miniature Painting
  4. The Rajasthan School of Miniature Painting
  5. The Orissa School of Miniature Painting
  6. The Pahari School of Miniature Painting
  7. The Deccan School of Miniature Painting


Some Famous Miniature Paintings and their Artists listed below:

  • Maru Ragini – Sahibdin
  • Kabir and Raidas – Ustad Faquirullah Khan
  • Chaugan Players – Dana
  • Krishna with Gopis – Manaku
  • Radha (Bani-Thani) – Nihal Chand
  • Journey’s End – Abanindranath Tagore
  • Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhana – Miskin
  • Mother Teresa – M.F. Hussain
  • Meghdoot – Ram Gopal Vijayvargiya