Dawn of Printing in India: Lithography in Lahore
Keywords:Lahore, lithographic printing, typographs, calligraphic tradition
The introduction of printing press and camera during 19th century in India, mark the end of traditions of handwritten book. The method of printing mostly adopted all over India, including the region of Lahore, was Lithography. This paper attempts to investigate the reason for this choice by the artists of India when, the rest of the world was preferring Typographic methods for printing. It also aims to find out how Lithography was able to provide a smooth transition from hand-written to printed books. The region of Lahore has been taken as the area of study in this specific case. Two of the archives are utilized for this purpose that have provided the data sample of 250 lithographed books from Lahore. The study scrutinizes the information about authors, publishers, artists of these books as well as general formatting, illustrations and illuminations. Furthermore, it investigates how the artists managed to continue some features of book art while modifying others to suite the new printing revolution. A few art historians notably, Shaw (1995, 2015) and Shcheglova (1999, 2009) have studied early printing methods in India. Their studies naturally have covered those cities of India which produced maximum number of lithographic books namely Lucknow and Cawnpur. Lahore is mentioned but, only fleetingly. This study also endeavors to identify and examine the position of Lahore in the context of lithographic printing that overlapped the production of manuscripts in the second half of 19th century: the domain much needed to be explored by art historians.