A STARTLING DIMENSION IN INSPIRATION IN SULTANATE PAINTING OF REGION,
HAJI MAHMUD HERATI, PAINTER OF SULTAN NASIR SHAH KHALJI 1500-1510 AD
Every one who is a student of regional painting knows that Emperor Babur and Emperor Humayoun brought painters here from the Iranian territory. Every one knows that the Persian Masters intermixed here and formed a new School of Art, that is known as the Mughal School of Art. We also do know the School of Art in Herat before those times, being spearheaded by Ustad Kamal ud din Behzad, the greatest painter of them all. But little do we know that the Herat School even before the Mughals touched the painting of this region and inspired Schools of Art here. One such painter was Haji Mahmud who also came from Herat and did work for Sultan Nasir Shah Khalji at MANDU. The period covered is even earlier of the father, that is Sultan Ghias Khalji. A Sultanate volume of the BUSTAN is preserved in the National Museum in New Delhi which testifies to this, with the title page listing all these details.
The painting era in the region has always been an enigma, for the lapse of centuries between Master pieces of Ajanta and other schools of art in the region. Stone was the basic unit of art work here and there was no respect for paper. It was the Muslims who brought paper in the region and gave spur to the creative upsurge of the miniatures. More is recorded and we will share such exclusive information. Suffice to talk of the Persian influence on painting in the Sultanate period here. Dr Abdullah Chaghatai has written a special book on the subject.