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 Deccan 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 Feature

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.