INDIA | GULER

A Leaf from the Devi Mahatmya: Homage of the Gods
Attributed to a master of the first generation after Nainsukh and Manaku
India, Pahari Region, Guler
c. 1775 – 1780
Ink on paper

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A Leaf from the Devi Mahatmya: Homage of the Gods
Attb. To a master of the first generation after Nainsukh and Manaku
India, Pahari Region, Guler
c. 1775 – 1780
Ink on paper
5 5/8 x 7 7/8 in. (14.2 x 20 cm.)

Provenance:
From the Collection of Stuart Cary Welch [1928 – 2008]

This exquisitely drawn Devi Mahatmya sketch from the Markandeya Purana depicts Kali leading female forms of the gods, who ride their respective vahanas, including Shiva’s Nandi, Indra’s white elephant, Karttikeya’s peacock and Vishnu’s eagle Garuda. The gods are seen praising the Shaktis individually and their weapons as well as all the different forms of the Goddess. Drawn using a red ink, the work exudes the delicacy and lyricism of a master artist.

This piece is very likely a precursor for an illustration now in the Lahore Museum [Homage of the Gods, LM no. E.193 (02065/1929)] and illustrated in Pahari Paintings & Sikh Portraits in the Lahore Museum by F.S Aijazuddin, 1977 (Page 32, Guler 41xxx) The entire series of 34 paintings are dated Phagun (February- March), V.S. 1838
(1781 AD)

Illustration to the Markandeya Purana
Devi Mahatmya
India, Guler
c. 1810
Gouache heightened with gold on paper with full border 

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Illustration to the Markandeya Purana
Devi Mahatmya
India, Guler
c. 1810
Gouache heightened with gold on paper with full border 
8 1/4 x 12 in. (20.9 x 30.5 cm.)

Provenance: 
Christies, London, 10 October 1989, lot 70 

Sumbha, enthroned on a terrace under a canopy, two attendants behind him, hears news of Ambika from Chanda and Munda who come before him, as a demon stands behind him.

An Illustrated Folio from a Devi Mahatmya Series:
The Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha Attack Brahma
India, Pahari Region, Guler 
c. 1765 
Opaque watercolors with gold on paper

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An Illustrated Folio from a Devi Mahatmya Series:
The Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha Attack Brahma
India, Pahari Region, Guler 
c. 1765 
Opaque watercolors with gold on paper
 6 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (17.1 x 26.7 cm.)

Provenance: 
The Estate of Dr. K. Aterman of Halifax, Canada thence by descent within the family. The collection of South Asian miniatures was acquired in London, England during the 1950s and 1960s, where Dr. Aterman worked and resided as a medical doctor.

Vishnu – Preserver of the Universe – serenely slumbering on the Serpent Ananta in the Cosmic Ocean. His attributes – the lotus, the conch, the mace and the chakra lying next to him at the ready. Brahma emerging from his navel. The asuras (demons) Madhu and Kaitabha approach aggressively – attacking the passive and helpless Brahma – who awakens the sleeping Vishnu with a plea for help. The asuras ultimately vanquished by Vishnu after an epic struggle lasting five thousand years.

For the next two consecutive folios from the same series see: Leach, L.Y. Indian Miniature Paintings and Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art 1986 Cleveland, Cat 116, pps. 286-87. Pal, P. Court Paintings of India New York 1983, Cat. P. 25-26, pps. 299-300. Also: Indian Miniature Paintings Doris Wiener Gallery New York 1974 Cat. 31.

An Illustration to the Markandeya Purana
India, Guler
c. 1825
Opaque watercolors with gold on paper

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An Illustration to the Markandeya Purana
India, Guler
c. 1825
Opaque watercolors with gold on paper
Dark blue inner borders with pink-flecked outer borders and ruled lines
Folio: 10 1/8 x 13 in. (25.7 x 33 cm.)
Image: 7 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (20 x 27.3 cm.)

Verso: Twelve lines of black and red text in Devanagari script on buff folio enclosed within decorative borders depicting flights of cranes and stylized clouds – painted in black and white gouache.

Between red inner and outer borders and ruled lines. Durga calmly seated before a sacrificial fire as an agitated asura messenger addresses her. Her tiger leaps to attack fleeing demons – two asuras rush to battle with bow and sword. Set against rolling green hills capped with white rock outcroppings and a cloudless blue sky.

For a related folio see: Pal, P. Court Paintings of India, New York 1983 Cat. P.26 p. 300

Brahma on a Lotus
India, Guler
Mid 18th century
Opaque watercolor on paper

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Brahma on a Lotus
India, Guler
Mid 18th century
Opaque watercolor on paper
7 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (19.6 x 16.5 cm.)

Rama and Sita Enthroned
India, Guler, Punjab Hills
c. 1830
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
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Rama and Sita Enthroned
India, Guler, Punjab Hills 
c. 1830
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 9 7/8 x 7 3/4 in. (25.1 x 19.6 cm.)
Image: 9 x 6 3/4 in. (23 x 17.2 cm.)

This scene illustrates the Ramayana’s joyful culmination with Rama; the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, and Sita, upon a golden throne (gadi), supported by tiger-shaped legs within a pavilion. Before the auspicious couple Hanuman stands with a book opened in his hands; the monkey chief, who had assisted Rama in killing the demon king Ravana and recovering Sita.

The divine couple enthroned on a deep red Mughal-style carpet with floral motif surmounted by a parasol bedecked in jewels and made of gold. Above, tufts of fabric panel raised and tied in between concisely modeled arches. A host of onlookers and attendants watch from both behind and the foreground. Amongst the crowd Lakshmana is pictured bearing a fly whisk (chauri) and Jambavan; the king of the bear army.

Exceptional detail is given to the blooming tree stemming from behind Jambavan, with a creeping vine gracefully winding its way up the knots and texture of the trunk, leading the eye to the lush green leaves with flowers hanging ripe with density giving host to frolicking birds.

For an illustration of this subject see The San Diego Museum of Art, Accession no. 1990.1283

A Princess Enjoying Pan on a Terrace
India, Guler
c. 1790 – 1800
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

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A Princess Enjoying Pan on a Terrace
India, Guler
c. 1790 – 1800
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Folio: 8 3/8 x 9 1/8 in. (18.3 x 20.2 cm.)
Image: 7 x 7 3/8 in. (18.3 x 20.2 cm.)

Provenance: Spink & Son Ltd, London, 1985

Seated on an open white marble terrace before a blossoming tree and flanking cypresses, the princess strikes a ruler’s pose. She wears a courtly turban and sits on a large throne in a relaxed manner with one knee raised. Compare four pages with similar female figures and vegetation published in Archer, Indian Paintings in the Punjab Hills, London, 1973, p.118, nos.65-8.