Origin and Development

Deccan school of miniature painting had its beginning in 1560 A.D. when Mughal school had its existence the Deccan school was already in existence. Deccan miniatures amalgamation of locale Deccan culture and Islamic art of Iran, Persia and turkey. the new era of miniature painting took birth in Deccan after the decline of Behmani rulers. Islamic rulers were also great lover of art as they belonged to Persian and Afghani origin. but they were fanatic hence their dimension of love of art were confined only the decorative floral and ornamental designs. In the southern part of vindhya mountains vijay nagar was a powerful Hindu kingdom where Indian art and culture flourished. The murals made in Virupakhsh temple   at Humpi virbhadra temple at Lepakshi representing the episodes from Ramayana and Mahabharata mirror the artistic heritage   of vijaynagar empire.  Brahmani rulers defeated   the great Hindu kingdom of vijaynagar in the battle of talikota. after, that the Hindu artists from vijaynagar and several Mughal painters migrated from the Aurangzeb’s court developed a new style of miniature paintings in Deccan school.  Ahmedanagar, Bijapur,Golcondaand  Hyderabad  were  main  centers of deccan school.  Deccan school of miniature was developed in the plateau region between Narmada and Krishna river in south India during (1560-1800) A.D. though Deccan school is contemporary to Mughal school but it developed differently.  One can see the impact of Chinese, Mughal, European, Persian and even Arabic paintings on Deccan school. In spite of these, basic nature looks like Hindu murals of vijaynagar’s temples.  The decorative details, three dimensional effects, use of repetitive motifs elongated human beings and symmetrical architectures make Decani miniatures look special. So, the origin and development of Decani (Deccan) school of art has left a special landmark in the history of art.     


Colour scheme Brilliant and beautiful colours have been used in Deccan miniature painting. They are different from the colours of the northern painting style. Golden colour has been used largely in the paintings where architecture is shown and also in the costumes, jewelry, utensils etc.

Persian influence High horizon lavish use of golden colour, the landscape, golden sky, some flowering plants and arabesque on the top of the throne (throne of prosperity, Bijapur) etc. all have Persian influence on them.

Mughal influence In the later phase (17th and 18th century) of Deccan style, Mughal influence was at peak. Mughal influence was due to migration of several Mughal painters to the Decan during downfall of Mughal school of painting.

Decorative paintings Deccan paintings were mostly decorative especially Hyderabad painting like the flowerbeds, costumes, rich and brilliant colours facial feature etc.

Bold drawing and Shading techniques Bold drawing shading technique and use of rich. Pure and brilliant colours flourished at Tanjore.

Silent Features

1. The painting Style s which originated in Deccan sultanates are marked by refined elegance of Mughal and Persian influence .

2. Deccan painting shows sturdy growing trees as circular masses filed by leaves in repetitive design, birds, and animals show marked influence of the mural painting at Vijayanagar.

3. Deccan painting shows remarkable expressive style of Ragmala paintings. The colors in the Ragmala series are mostly dark with typical Prussian blue and orange to product a fine artistic excellence .

4. In human figures, they combined Persian elements and Indian figures, especially in women in their indigenous costumes, elongated face, sharp features, wide open eyes broad forehead, high necks, oversize jewelry, tall and cylinder figures are there Deccan inventions .

5. in portrait painting, the Deccan were greatly influenced by Mughal realism and imitated European naturalism and succeeded in producing a three-dimensional effect.

6. Deccan Painters leaned more towards idealized, imaginary rather than Mughal examples, richness with elaborate detail and wonderfully thought out compositions .

7. The Deccan colors used in the painting are rich and brilliant, and golden color is used profusely for flowering plant, costumes jewelry and jutting out horizon.

     Sub Schools

Ahamad Nagar

The early phase of Deccan painting starts in 16th century with Yusuf Adil shah an Iranian immigrant basically a soldier who founded Adil Shah rule At Bijapur. On his invitation several Iranian, Persian and Turkish painter, calligraphers and scholars came to his court. Thee immigrant artists made painting on pure Islamic background which were confined only to the text illumination. The earliest Temples of Deccan school are contained in the manuscripts named Than – in Husain a book of poem written in the praise of Hussain nizam shah -1 king of Ahmednagar 1553- 1565. It was executed and illustrated by the orders of his widow after his death. This illustrated manuscript is preserved in Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal Pune. The colours used in these painting s are rich and brilliant but the style of application is different from that of northern paintings. The Persian influence can be seen in high horizon, golden back ground, Prussian blue sky and pink mountains. Trees and he landscape. female figures are painted in traditional style of Mandu and Malwa. They have elongated profile face and body structure. there feet are pointing in same direction s. They look like puppet and resemble the regional folk art of the murals of various Hindu temples of Vijayanagar. Ahmednagar artists also painted portraits but in Mughal style. The portraits of Burhan nizam shah II of Ahmednagar marks Mughal effect. Vasant raga and Raga Hindola are the finest example in Ahmednagar.


A Number of descendants Yusuf ADIL Shah A great fascination for art and patronize artists. The style of art works of second phase of Decani school remark the departure of art from the prior Decani mural tradition of miniature s. sultan Adil shah 1558- 1580 ,  the king of small kingdom of Bijapur accelerated Artistic activities during his regime , he commissioned to illustrate the manuscripts Nazum -ul ulum (Sceince of stars ) This illustrated manuscript has 876 paintings which are real representative of refined decani school in which the human figure are painted in the style of mural of Hindu temples Hampi and Virbhadra . the whole format, its background and fine calligraphy done in decani school reflects Parisian effects on it. Ramaala painting of Bijapur court are very famous in which Indian motifs are beautifully fused. Dhanshri Ragini, Gauri Ragini, Shri Ragini etc. Are the noted masterpiece of the Ramaala series. Some excellent Bijapur paintings are preserved in the Bikaner royal collection. The most famous portrait of Bijapur court of Ibrahim Adil shah -II 1580- 1626 A.D. who succeed his uncle Adil shah at the edge of nine years. He himself was a singer, poet, master calligraphy and good patron of art. The Decani school of miniature painting achieved the height during his Regine.


Abdul Hussain Qutab shah of Golconda was one of those sultans who provide effective patronage to the Hindu artists of Vijayanagar and refugee artists of Mughal court. though Golconda artists painted in Mughal style they kept alive particular Decani testes and flavour. This school continued till 18th century A.D. golden back ground. pink mountains realistic trees and shrubs are the characteristics of Golconda school. “Lady and Maina” and “Chand Bibi Playing Polo” are excellent examples of this school. Aurangzeb conquered Golconda in 1687 A.D. The style of Deccan school continued long after the extinction of Deccan sultans of Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda till 17th century A.D. later on, miniature paintings started flourished in Hyderabad under the royal patronage of Asaf jahan -I by Golconda artists. rich colours, Deccan Faces highly decorative costumes, rhythmic posture and symmetrical architectures are distinctive feature s of this school.


The origin of Hyderabad school begins with the foundation of Asaf jahan dynasty in 1724 A.D.  this royal patronage was an important factor in flourishing this school. the descendant of Jaahi dynasty were popularly known as Nizams. Nizam inherited the richest part of Mughal empire. the nizam led simple pious and spiritual life. Golkonda school did not fall at the end of the kingdom but confined under the patronage of Nizam’s birth new features in regard artist draftsman ship, colouring atmosphere, subject matter and architectural peculiarities. the presence of luxuries is absent in these miniatures of this school. the unique style of approach and depiction easily differentiate Hyderabad school miniature from other Deccan miniature. gold, red, orange, pale green, pallid blue is used to depict flower garden horizon sky and clouds. the artist depicted the real nature and architecture with its interior decoration. The themes of painting of this school are portraits of Nizams, saints, paintings on mobility, listening music, visiting a saint seating near terrace. Deccan faces rhythmic postures symmetrical architectures and a special type of peace and harmony scattered all around on the paintings are seen on the miniatures of Hyderabad school. hence this school slowly acquired declining nature.


A style of painting characterized by bold drawing technique of shading and he use of pure and brilliant colours flourished at Tanjore in south India during the late 18th and 19th century. a typical example of Tanjore painting, in the collection of the national museum is an illustrated wooden panel of early 19th century showing the coronation of ram. the scene is laid elaborately decorated arches.  In the middle Ram and Sita are seated on the throne, attendant by his brothers and lady.in the left and right panels are seen Rishis, courtiers and princes. In the foreground are Hanuman Sugriva who are being honoured and two other Bananas opening box probably containing gifts. the style is decorative and marked by the use of bright colours and ornamental details. The conical crown appearing in the miniature is a typical feature of Tanjore and painting.

Painting Descriptions

Chand Bibi Playing Polo

Chand Bibi playing polo is from Golconda sub school of Deccan Miniature Painting Artist was unknown.

Subject matter–

The subject matter of painting is the internment of Chand Bibi and her companions

Medium and technique –

The medium used in this painting is tempera (water colour) on paper. in this technique, any type of glue is mixed with coloured powder   so as to make it suitable for working on any surface. The glue can be of any type. fresh egg. Yule can also be used. after this mixture, water is also added. in light, the whole mixture (glue + coloured powder+ water) dries quickly.
And for their internment they have chooser the game polo and the title according to it So the subject matter is justified because when we watch this painting we feel and understand the subject matter from our heart.Description –

Chand Bibi is playing polo with her companions four horses are shown on which four ladies Chand Bibi (sitting on white horse) and her three companions are sitting eyes of all ladies are big and open while waist is triangular in shape. one lady is standing on the fore ground with her hands directing upwards. She is perhaps an attendant. A white ball is also shown. a silvery grey lotus lake with aquatic words has been shown in the fore ground and the horizon is receding. In the back ground, huts, rocks, trees etc.  are shown. Green, yellow, blue and brown colours are used. being a miniature painting, it seems as if it is a big size painting. in the blue sky, sun is also shown. So over all it is a well-balanced and beautiful painting.

Human Values –

@ Sports as a source of recreation for a healthy and fulfilling life.

@ Teamwork towards a conman goal.

@ Develop a sense of healthy competition to get better in all fields.

@ Camaraderie.

Description in 30 words –

It is a tempera painting from Golconda of Deccan school. This painting depicts Chand Bibi playing polo with her three companion’s and polo master. In foreground a lotus pond is painted with Six Aquatic birds.

Ragini Pathamishka

Name of artist –

unknown – The Deccan School of Miniature Painting Ragin Pat Hamshika is very beautiful painting. one can easily appreciate it on the basis of fallowing points.

Medium and technique –

The medium used in this painting is tempera (water colour) on paper. in this technique, any type of glue is mixed with coloured powder   so as to make it suitable for working on any surface. The glue can be of any type. fresh egg. Yule can also be used. after this mixture, water is also added. in light, the whole mixture (glue + coloured powder+ water) dries quickly.

Subject matter –

The subject matter of this painting has been taken from – “raga Hans” Dhwani. importance of music has been shown in this painting. A princess playing the veena has been shown while made servant are listing to the music very carefully.
Description –

The compositional arrangements of this painting are very appealing. three female figures have been arranged very beautifully in the red coloured four ground. in the centre, a princess is shown holding a veena and is sitting on a red colored throne. on her left side, a dashi (med servant) is standing and on the right side of the princess also a dashi is escorting her by waving a fan for the princess. A Hukka of yellow colour has been arranged in the centre in the front of the princess and on the left side of Hukka , small black elephant has been shown . in this painting, all the pillars and minarets or toms have been arranged symmetrically. at the top of the painting, an inscription has been mentioned all over (above the fine minarets shown). So, the whole composition is well composed and well balanced.

Human Values –

@ Camaraderie togetherness and solidarity.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auiliya-
@ Respect for older guru or your seniors.

@ Mutual respects for each other’s art and talent.

@Regard for your juniors.

@Music for devotion to the divine.

@ Oneness of divine though means and way to reach him differ.

Description in 30 words –

In this Deccan miniature painting of Ahmednagar sub school, it composed vertically almost in symmetrical manner. Water colour (tempera) technique are used. thin and forceful lines are rendered. Necessary textual effect is given. on the top of the composition some inscriptions are done in Devanagari scripts. .

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya And Amir Khusro

Deccan Paintings – Hazrat Nizam-ud-Awaliya, and Amir Khusro,Hyderabad, circa 1750-70 A.D., National Museum, New Delhi

Artist Title and Medium –

 ‘Hazrat Nizzamuddin Auliya and amir khusro’   belongs to Hyderabad school and is made in water colour technique artist – unknown. painted during circa 1750-70 A.D. The courtesy of this painting is at national museum; New Delhi.

Subject Matter –

This painting is based on the discussion between hazrat nizam Uddin aaliya and amir khusro on a religious subject. Amir khusro was the student of Nizamuddin auliya.

Description –

The Deccan Painting Hazarat Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khusro belongs to hydrabad Sub school of deccan miniature painting. In the painting Hazarat Nizamuddin Auliya and amir Khusro have been shown sitting on an orange platform discussing on some religious subject. Amir khusro was the favourite companion of 12th century A.D. Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and amir Khusro was also the most favourite disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Amir Khusro was an indo-Persian (Sufi) poet from Delhi. he was associated with royal court of more than seven rulers of Delhi saltant. In the fore ground Hazarat Nizamuddin is shown sitting on the right side of amir khusro is sitting on the left side holding a musical instrument. At the bottom, two small green lawns with red flowers on both sides have been depicted. Hazrat Nizamuddin is shown wearing olive green dress which is the typical dress of Sufi saints. An aureole is shown around his head show his supremacy. aureole is yellow in colour and its circular border is decorated with brown coloured small tringles. amir Khusro is wearing red turban and red dress. between both the figures some white eatable has been shown in a utensil.
In the back ground, blue coloured sky has been shown. a tree on the right side with yellow fruits, red flowers and brown trunk has been shown. A band of red flower and green leaves has been depicted on the horizon line. So, it is well composed and well-balanced painting.

Human Values –

@ Respect for your older guru or seniors,

@regard for your juniors,

@music for devotion to the divine.

Painting in 30 words –

This Hyderabadi miniature painting painted in tempera technique is well composed vertically and almost formally shows with the appropriate colour harmony.