Lot 14
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Inscribed in Takri and Nagari, "Raga Gambhira son of Sri Raga" at the top
Gouache on paper heightened with gold
Image: 6.25 x 6.25 in (15.8 x 15.8 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. XXIX and fig. 49p (illustrated)
R K Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, Bangalore: Natesan Publishers, 1983, pl. XIII and fig. 53 (illustrated)

Classified as a putra of the Sri Raga, the Ragaputra Gambhira seen here depicts a prince and his consort conducting a deer-hunt, seated in a boat, as the prince aims his bow and arrow at a fleeing antelope during the night. They are steered by a boatman, who, like the acrobats and wrestlers seen in the other ragamalas, wears striped shorts and has a bare torso.

"Each raga family has a distinct colour-scheme for the background and borders. This charming device, which seems peculiar to only a few early Pahari ragamalas, speaks highly of the ingenuity of the artists." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 50) The customary background colour of the Sri Raga family is black with a yellow border, as seen in the present lot. In Basohli ragamala illustrations, the notes in their musical counterparts are represented by specific animals. According to Tandan, in the present Ragaputra Gambhira, one would expect to find a makara (crocodile), but its place is taken by a boat. "There is a distinct similarity in the sounds produced by the movement of a crocodile and the rowing of a boat." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 54)

As in most Basohli ragamalas, the nayaka (hero) in the present lot is young, with a rudimentary moustache across his fair complexion. He wears charms around his arms and neck. Tandan notes that the Indian artist often based his portraits on the likeness of his patron, which in this case is probably Dhiraj Pal. The nayika (heroine) is slender, lithe and has the "texture of blushing pearls." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 56) She is adorned with pearls, and her hands are dyed red in henna. "The artist occasionally resorts to modelling by employing fine line hatching to define the nostril, the curve of the jaw and the roundness of the throat. This attempt is further augmented by flushing of the cheeks, and, in some cases, by surrounding the outer edges of the lips by a thin white line, a device which appears unique to this set." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, pp. 56-57)

The pictorial depiction of nature is relatively austere in the present lot as the action is focussed on the arrow that is aimed at the antelope beyond the border. "Mountains are shown in the shape of softly-rounded, overlapping peaks of pink colour, with, or without tufts of grass growing out of the crevices. The tops of these peaks are overgrown with blackish-green tufts of grass and foreshortened trees." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, pp. 57-58)

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  Lot 14 of 70  

14 DECEMBER 2015

Rs 55,00,000 - 65,00,000
$83,335 - 98,485

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


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