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Mughal mural on red turf

Jharkhand's terror terrain has thrown up a set of "unexpected" treasure - two rare Mughal paintings.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2006 02:40 IST

Jharkhand's terror terrain has thrown up a set of "unexpected" treasure - two rare Mughal paintings. The Archeological Survey of India has stumbled upon two "Pahari" style paintings of the Rajasthan school in Gumla district.

Billed as the first of its kind in the state, the paintings were found in a 17th-18th century Shiva Temple in the backwaters of Chota Katanga.

The paintings in polychrome hues are similar to the pahari art of Rajasthan and the lower Himalayan Valley. The paintings on the dome of the temple's outer verandah have "decorative motifs", typical of arches found in ancient Rajasthan and Mughal style architecture.

"The pattern is similar to the Chaurapanchasikha series," said O.N. Chauhan, superintending archaeologist of the ASI. The painting is a medley of flowers, leaves and human figures. One of its catchy delineations is the erotic posture of a couple reminiscent of a pose in Vatsayan's Kamasutra.

"The picture of a person holding a flower seems to be influenced by murals from Mughal Emperor Jehangir's regime," Chauhan said.

However, the other painting, still visible in the temple's inner Garbhagriha, has an ethnic touch. Like the first, the second also depicts a couple in a pose from Kamasutra, but bears striking resemblance to the 16th century - "A Group of Women" - paintings found in Punjab.

Experts say the paintings -likes of which are still found in Dosiagarh, nearly 70 km from here - hark back to Emperor Jehangir's reign. While the Dosiagarh paintings have borne the brunt of time, Chhota Katanga paintings have still retained their distinctness.