Lot 13
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Proshita Nayaka

c. 1780-1790

Kangra School

Size: 8.5 x 6 in (21.6 x 15.2 cm)

The earlier phase of the Kangra School produced extremely fine paintings. The master artists of the Kangra valley enjoyed painting romantic subjects. The picturesque scenic beauty of the region complemented their taste.

The Nayak Nayika (Hero and Heroine) series shows various moods of lovers. The artists drew inspiration from the works of well known poets. Romantic poetic verses were brought to life by master artists. This particular example is based on a verse by the famous 17th century Hindi poet, Mati Ram. It is a rendering of the Proshita Nayaka or the male lover in distress in the absence of his beloved.

One can see blue-hued Krishna seated in Viraha dukha, or 'sorrow in the absence of his lover'. He wears a leaf-green; full-sleeved and flared jama. Krishna is seen pining for his beloved, who has been away from him for a long time. He is unable to bear this separation and therefore sad. His head is bent low in sorrow. His chin rests on his hand indicating that he is lost in thought. His eyes are a little droopy due to his trance like state of mind. He takes the support of a bolster to comfort himself. The thought of his beloved brings a faint smile to his face. A courtier sits next to him in an effort to comfort his master.

The setting is an open terrace in the palace. The flooring is a lovely orange, and the fine architecture can be seen in the background. The painting has a lot of fine details. Krishna's headgear is a soothing combination of gold and green. A pearl studded necklace adorns his neck. On careful observation one can also see fine lines of sandal paste on his forehead. The courtier wears a cream coloured dress. He is young as can be seen by his fine facial stubble. Two parrots are perched on a nearby tree. A combination of dark and light green has been used to paint the foliage. Branches of a tree in full bloom can also be seen. The architectural work is simple and lively, with nets on windows, niches on walls, and a pillared balcony.

The verse by Mati Ram is inscribed on the reverse. Most paintings from the Nayak Nayika series are centered on the Nayika, or the female lover. There are very few paintings showing the Nayak and still fewer showing him with a male accomplice. Noted Pahari painting expert late Karl Khandalavala stated "The Nayaka (Hero) also has assistants. But one does not find them often in Nayaka Paintings (Karl Khandalavala, Pahari Miniature Paintings, 1958, p. 27).

This painting is hence a fine example that has all the features that one can ask for. It is an early example of the School, has a very romantic subject, excellent quality and detailing, superb condition and is a very rare Nayak rendering. It makes an important work for a miniature painting connoisseur.

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  Lot 13 of 55  

25-26 APRIL 2012

$16,000 - 18,000

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Published dimensions of this Lot are those of the full paper size and not the visible size of this Lot


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