Traditionally, Indian paintings have been classified by regional styles or dynastic periods, with an emphasis on subject matter. Stressing the combined tools of connoisseurship and inscriptional evidence, the pioneering research reflected in this book has identified individual artists and their oeuvres through the analysis of style.
The introductory essay outlines the origins of early Indian painting of the first millennium, which set the scene for the development of the art of the book. The sections that follow examine manuscript painting as it evolved from palm-leaf to paper, the emergence of traditional painting as an independent art form, and its demise with the coming of photography. Biographies of the artists whose works appear in this volume and a glossary of their major literary sources provide valuable context.