Lot 15
 
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BASOHLI, CIRCA 1700
Inscribed in Takri and Nagari, "Raga Chandra son of Megha" at the top
Gouache on paper heightened with gold
Image: 6.25 x 5.5 in (15.7 x 13.9 cm)
Folio: 8 x 7.5 in (20.3 x 19.1 cm)

NON-EXPORTABLE REGISTERED ANTIQUITY

PROVENANCE
The Tandan Collection

PUBLISHED
R K Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, Bangalore: Natesan Publishers, 1983, fig. 31 (illustrated)


"Basohli pictures have a simple, bold style emphasized by a daring juxtaposition of brilliant contrasting colours, and a spirited, vigorous outline." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 33) From the Hindol raga family, this illustration depicts Chandra, the Moon-god, riding an antelope across the orb of the moon, holding a lotus flower in each hand.

While ragamalas in the Hindol family are usually painted with a yellow background, the artist appears to have chosen the colour blue in the present lot, to represent the night sky and perhaps as a better contrast for the disc of the moon. The border is red, characteristic to Hindol ragamalas. Other paintings that are variations on this depiction of Ragaputra Chandravimba show the Moon- god holding spears, while seated on a chariot drawn by two antelopes.

In Basohli painting, men are as handsome as the women, and often modelled on Raja Kirpal Pal (1678-1695) and his son Dhiraj Pal (1695-1725), "both reputed for their good looks." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, p. 24) Describing another painting of the Malkosa raga in his collection, Tandan makes note of an "air of pride" in the subject, along with the "moonlit paleness" of his skin and the "perfect line of his eyebrows." The Moon-god in the present lot has a similar regal bearing. As with most figurations in Pahari ragamalas, the Moon-god's "beautiful, large eyes are in the shape of a lotus flower and exude passion. They are marked by a large area of white and a small pupil. Each form is sharply defined. The head is usually egg-shaped, with a receding forehead, a long nose, full cheeks and a small mouth." (Tandan, Pahari Ragamalas, pp. 33-34)

This painting is unusual because instead of the characteristic long and tapering turban, the Moon- god is adorned with a five-pointed crown decorated with lotus flowers. The antelope is elegant and agile, with the face turned upwards.




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  Lot 15 of 70  

CLASSICAL INDIAN ART
14 DECEMBER 2015

Estimate
Rs 40,00,000 - 60,00,000

Winning Bid
Rs 42,00,000
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)










 



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