Deccani painting, a distinct style of miniature art, blossomed in the late 16th century within the Deccani sultanates of Peninsular India. Initially evolving independently, it later embraced influences from the Mughal style during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Types of Deccani Schools of Painting:


  • Originated during the reign of Hussain Nizam Shah I (1553-1565).
  • Notable work: ‘Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi’, an illustrated manuscript.
  • Characteristics: Rich colors, Northern attire, intricate line drawings.
  • Theme: Royal portraits, notably Queen Chand Bibi.
  • Influence: Persian elements in horizon, sky, and landscape.


  • Supported by Ali Adil Shah I (1558-80) and Ibrahim II (1580-1627).
  • Notable work: ‘Nujum-al-Ulum’ (Stars of Sciences) 1570.
  • Characteristics: Tall women, South Indian dress, vivid colors including gold.
  • Themes: Paradisiacal gardens or idealized human figures.
  • Influence: Lepakshi mural and Persian gold color usage.


  • Flourished under Qutb Shahi rulers, especially Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah (1580-1611).
  • Characteristics: Gold jewelry on men and women, large paintings with distinct colors.
  • Themes: Dancing girls, royal family depictions.
  • Influence: Blend of Pre-Mughal and Vijayanagar mural styles.


  • Emerged during the Asafjhi dynasty (1724 onwards), enriched by Mughal painters during Aurangzeb’s era.
  • Characteristics: Rich colors, distinctive Deccani facial features and costumes.
  • Themes: Ruler and family portraits, gardens, courtyards.
  • Influence: Blend of Golconda and Mughal influences.


  • Native art of Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu.
  • ‘Palagai Padam’: Art on solid wood planks.
  • Characteristics: Bold lines, shading techniques, gold foil, vibrant colors.
  • Themes: Primarily Hindu deities and saints.
  • Example: ‘Coronation of Rama’.

The Deccani Schools of Painting encompass an array of styles that evolved within the Deccani sultanates. From Ahmednagar’s Persian-infused hues to Bijapur’s fusion of Lepakshi and Persian elements, Golconda’s unique blend of influences, Hyderabad’s decorative richness, and Tanjore’s distinctive technique, each school offers a rich tapestry of artistic expression. These artistic legacies continue to thrive, maintaining their demand and significance.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish April 13, 2024