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Painting of Indian trumpeters at risk of export from Britain

London, Nov 17 (IANS) British Culture Minister Michael Ellis on Friday placed an export bar on a unique watercolour painting depicting a traditional musical performance in mid-18th century Northern India.

The move will prevent the painting, considered of significant cultural interest, from being sent abroad to enable a British gallery or buyer to match the asking price of 550,000 pounds, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Trumpeters” by Nainsukh of Guler (1710-1778) is a delicate miniature work, described by experts as of a rarely found caliber. It shows seven village musicians on a terrace, striking differing poses and faces, while energetically blowing the exceptionally long Pahari horns called Turhi in the hill region of northern India.

“It is a fine example of Nainsukh of Guler’s trademark gift of detailed observation and complex directional composition,” said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The artist is considered to be one of the most acclaimed of the Pahari (Hills) movement, which were a major and popular genre of Indian miniature painting during the period.

Some of his works are exhibited in public collections in Britain, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

The miniature is an example of the colour and light of India which inspired its first owner, the renowned artist Winifred Nicholson whose works have been exhibited in world leading galleries including the Tate.

Ellis said: “Nainsukh’s artistic influence has been felt around the world for generations and this piece demonstrates the outstanding aesthetic importance of his work. I hope that this piece can be kept in the UK, not only for its beauty, but to help further the study of Indian art and history.”

–IANS

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