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Antique Paintings on Mica

February 12, 2014 2 min read

I was incredulous when I saw these for the first time!

Why would anyone create a work of art on something so fragile?

It seems that paper was more expensive than mica in the late 1800s and so mica was a popular alternative.

As is to be expected, many have not survived time.

An example of a highly damaged piece where not only is the mica base chipped, but even the pain layers have chipped off.

It appears from the little research that I have done, that in majority the mica paintings, the subject is ‘Indian tradesmen’ or Indian costumes’. These come in sets with each individual painting depicting a particular identity. (Roughly 5 inches tall)


But there are a few others that depict scenes. These are larger and rare. Following are some from the Wovensouls Collection:

1. A wedding procession


2. Scene of Procession of Jagannath Yatra at Puri


3. Scene of Johar or maybe Sati after a Battle


The fort in the background, the soldiers with their shields, the multiple battle-deaths as can be seen by another funeral procession coming towards the cremation ground … all bring off an insight into the custom that was prevalent in several parts of the country in the mid-1800s.

The paintings above are by the same painter and ones below by another.

4. A Court Scene


(Note the carpet & clothing detail!)

5. Scene depicting a royal elephant being trained


These are a pleasure to view and study as the details contained within each scene provide a glimpse into the culture that prevailed in the late 1800s when these were created.

One more enticing category of traditional art to keep us captivated and stimulated for awhile!!


Feb 2014

#johar #padmavat #padmavati

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