Lot 13
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Inscribed in Takri and Nagari, "Raga Bhramaranand" at the top
Gouache on paper heightened with gold
Image: 6.25 x 6.5 in (15.7 x 16.5 cm)
Folio: 7.5 x 7 in (19 x 17.7 cm)


The Tandan Collection

R K Tandan, Indian Miniature Painting: 16th Through 19th Centuries, Bangalore: Natesan Publishers, 1982, pl. XXIV and fig. 49g (illustrated)
R K Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, Bangalore: Natesan Publishers, 1983, pl. V and fig. 22 (illustrated)
Dr. K Vatsyayan, Krishna: The Divine Lover - Myth and Legend through Indian Art, New Delhi: B.I.Publications, 1982, p.180, fig.192 (illustrated)
Dr. Anand Krishna ed., Chhavi - 2: Rai Krishnadasa Felicitation Volume, Volume 2, Varanasi: Bharat Kala Bhavan, 1981, fig. 444 (illustrated)

Ragaputra Bhramarananda of Malkosa "usually shows a gentleman, or an ascetic, dancing to the tune of a tambourine played by a lady. The sensitive treatment of the long, tapering fingers, quivering with vitality... is in the best tradition of early seventeenth century Mughal miniatures." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 74)

Early Basohli artists used specific background colours to represent a particular raga family, and pea- green symbolises the Malkosa raga. Set against this backdrop is a young man, about twenty years old according to Tandan, dancing to the beat of a tambourine played by a young maiden. The exuberant youth appears fully engrossed in the beats of the tambourine: his lotus-shaped eye is wide open and expressive, his right leg is raised, his arms are caught in a rhythmic movement and his left hand assumes a graceful mudra. His energetic moves are accentuated by the string of pearls that swirl about him, in keeping with his rhythm. His patka twirls as the jama flares with the vigour of his moves. A bell-studded belt holds his patka in place, adding to the beat of the tambourine.

In contrast, the maiden is calm, playing the tambourine. Her legs are firmly rooted to the ground, and her face does not betray any emotion. "Her exquisite face holds dark eyes that are limpid pools of light, a sculptured nose and softly-curved lips... Even more striking than her physical beauty is her countenance, a strange fusion of sweetness and sensuality, innocence and invitation." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 56) Her fingers and toes are dyed red, heightening her allure. She is resplendent, decked from head to toe with hair, nose and ear ornaments, strings of pearls around her neck, armbands and armlets made of gold and set with precious stones, and pearl anklets suspending gold bells. Together, the maiden and youth represent the energy of Bhramarananda.

One of the earliest Basohli paintings to have survived, Ragaputra Bhramarananda of Malkosa also offers an insight into trends informing such early works. Percussion instruments such as the tambourine were meant to mimic the clapping of hands, and were popular in the hill-states in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The religious markings seen on the dancer's body indicate the secular nature of the rulers at the time, as noted by Tandan. The garb displays Mughal influences. The long patka and dupatta on both figures were in fashion during the reign of Akbar and Jehangir, and the floral patterns set against the rich gold at the ends of the garments were popular during the reign of Shah Jahan. The maiden's transparent peshwaj or outer garment and the tight- fitting pair of trousers were typical of the Mughal court. This dress disappeared from Basohli painting at the end of the seventeenth century.

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  Lot 13 of 70  

14 DECEMBER 2015

Rs 50,00,000 - 70,00,000
$75,760 - 106,065

Winning Bid
Rs 96,00,000
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


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