Lot 7
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Inscribed in Nagari, "Ragini Verari of Dipak" at the top with rubbed stamp on the reverse
Gouache on paper heightened with gold
Image: 8.25 x 5.5 in (20.9 x 13.9 cm)
Folio: 10 x 7.25 in (25.4 x 18.4 cm)


The Tandan Collection

R K Tandan, Indian Miniature Painting: 16th Through 19th Centuries, Bangalore: Natesan Publishers, 1982, pl. XXXVI and fig. 71 (illustrated)

The peacock is a recurring figure in Indian mythology, folktales, literature and art. It was considered a symbol of royalty and power in the Mughal courts and has been a vital part of art traditions from virtually every part of India, particularly in the Gita Govinda depictions. It is recognisable by association with Radha-Krishna, thereby evoking a sense of romance, divinity and worship. The rich blue-green sheen of the peacock plumage complements the deep reds of the colour palette.

17th century Rajasthani court painters created interpretations of Kesava Das's Rasikapriya, which elaborates on the relationship between Krishna, Radha, and her female companions. The present lot from the Ragamala series expounds upon this theme of love and yearning.

R K Tandan writes of the present lot in superlative terms, calling it "a masterpiece of Indian art." He notes that "...the ravishingly beautiful women created by the Kota artists were seldom excelled in any other school of Indian painting." (Tandan, Indian Miniature Painting, p. 94) Desavarari personifies the raga that bears her name. "Struck by cupid, she twists her supple body like a creeper, with her arms upstretched. With her dreamy eyes and long eye-lashes, deep-dyed palms and fingers, and hair extending well below the hip, she is as delightful as the music she represents. Counter- pointing her sad mood, a lone peacock strides on the rooftop." (Tandan, Indian Miniature Painting, p. 94)

The red border that contains the scene is typical of Kota paintings from the period. The contrast between the clearly delineated flat, white colour of the architecture and the earthy, warm tones of the forest in the background is especially striking. The artist plays with perspective, showing the palace on the right in one-point perspective while flattening out the terrace with the two women to focus on them in the foreground. There is extensive detailing in every part of the frame. The trees in the forest, the women's clothing, and the flower pattern on the terrace floor are all decorated with precision.

For comparison see M.C. Beach, Rajput Painting at Bundi and Kotah, Ascona, 1974, fig. 85

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  Lot 7 of 70  

14 DECEMBER 2015

Rs 8,00,000 - 10,00,000
$12,125 - 15,155

Winning Bid
Rs 9,60,000
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


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