INDIA | KANGRA

Lakshmi massaging the foot of Vishnu
India, Kangra
c. 1810 – 18
20
Opaque pigments with gold and silver on paper

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Lakshmi massaging the foot of Vishnu
India, Kangra
c. 1810 – 1820
Opaque pigments with gold and silver on paper
Folio: 11 1/8 x 8 ¼ in. (28.5 x 21 cm.) 

Image: 9 1/8 x 6 1/8 in. (23.3 x 15.8 cm.)

Provenance: 
Private collection, Canada

Vishnu or Narayana, looking as young and resplendent as his avatar Krishna, sits crowned and enthroned on a green throne seat. His four arms carry the usual attributes of Vishnu – mace, lotus, conch and discus. Lasksmi crouches before him reverencing his left foot – his right is raised up and placed on the throne in the traditional posture of royal ease adopted by divinities, maharaja-lilasana. Vishnu’s posture is a somewhat daring exercise in converting to a perspective view from the side, a composition always seen from the front in earlier sculpture and painting. Behind the throne stands a young woman with a chowrie and the white cloth signifying royalty. The divinity is here treated exactly like a raja, enthroned on a terrace with dishes awaiting his pleasure. Two baluster columns enclose the scene, their linking arch half hidden by a textile blind, while instead of a landscape there is beyond the terrace a gold ground sky streaked with orange and with rolling clouds.
This painting is a later version of an original of 1765-70 formerly in the collection of Gloria Katz and Williard Huyck, sold at Sotheby’s, New York, 22 march 2002, lot 49, and now in the Benkaim Collection, Los Angeles. Portraits or scenes viewed through an arched opening had become a commonplace of Guler painting from the 1750s. A portrait of Raja Govardhan Chand smoking a hookah, circa 1750 (Archer 1973Guler 24), employs exactly the same type of pillar and capital with acanthus leaf moulding as does our painting here. A golden sky frames the figures with rolling coloured clouds and garish streaks above, while a rolled up blind closes the scene at the top. The vividly coloured sky is also found in Basohli painting at this time (Archer 1973, Basohli 25-26) and reflects influence from Mughal painting both from Delhi and Avadh, possibly brought back to the hills after Nainsukh’s pilgrimage with his new patron Raja Amrit Pal of Basohli to distant Puri in 1763. A lady smoking a hookah on a terrace has exactly the same kind of arched format and background as ours (Losty 2012, no. 17). For an almost identical painting from the Galbraith Collection, see Welch & Beach 1965, no. 77.

References 
Archer, W.G., Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, London, 1973
Losty, J.P., Indian Painting 1600-1870, exhibition catalogue, New York, Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd., London, 2012
Welch, S.C., & Beach, M.C., Gods, Thrones and Peacocks, New York, 1965

Illustration to the Bhagavata Purana:
Krishna Battles the Horse Demon Keshi
India, Kangra
c. 1850
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Illustration to the Bhagavata Purana:
Krishna Battles the Horse Demon Keshi
India, Kangra
c. 1850
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

Folio: 11 1/2 x 10 in. (29.2 x 25.4 cm.)
Image: 10 x 8 1/4 in. (25.4 x 20.9 cm.)

Provenance:
Private New York Collection, acquired in the 1990’s
Collection of the Marquess of Tweeddale

This powerfully rendered painting depicts a brilliant orange horizon cast over Vrindavan, setting the stage for the epic battle unfolding in the foreground, as Krishna and his brother Balarama battle the horse demon, Keshi. The blue skinned saviour crowned, adorned with jewelry and a flower garland, as his brilliant yellow dhoti flows with movement while delivering his penultimate blow. Balarama, rendered in white with a deep blue tunic stands ready to assist his younger brother in combat. Paramount detail and skill of hand are present in this work through the artists use of negative space to instill a mood of turmoil as well as their ability to capture movement in the heat of battle. The mane of Keshi’s hair ripples and eyes flutter as he bares the impact and recoils from a stalled charge, Krishna’s face a serene calm. A blue foliate border surrounds the illustration.
Thereafter, the demon Keshi assumed the form of a giant horse and entered Vrindavana. Running at the speed of thought, tearing up the earth with his hooves. The hair on his mane scattered the clouds in the sky and shook the demigods in their own domicile. His whinnying like drums of thunder terrifying all those around. Keshi was looking for a fight, and so Krishna came and stood before him, challengingly. The horse demon responded by roaring like a lion and rushing at Krishna in great anger, his mouth open as if to swallow the sky. Keshi was hoping to trample Krishna. The blue skinned saviour dodged Keshi’s attack and then, after deftly moving around the demon, he angrily seized him by the legs, whirled him around in the air, and contemptuously threw him the distance of one hundred bow-lengths, just as Garuda might throw a snake. When he regained consciousness, Keshi angrily got up, opened his mouth wide and once again rushed at Krishna. Krishna simply smiled, however, and thrust his left fist into the horse’s mouth as easily as one might make a snake enter a hole in the ground. Keshi felt Krishna’s arm to be as hot as molten iron and his teeth immediately fell out. Krishna then expanded his arm within Keshi’s body. The demon’s mouth slackened and so Krishna effortlessly removed his fist. Then, without the slightest tinge of pride at having effortlessly killed his enemy, Krishna accepted the worship of the demigods in the form of flowers raining from the sky.

An Illustration to a Rasikapriya series:
Radha, seated in a pavilion, visited by a female companion dressed as a boy
India, Kangra

c. 1820
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper

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An Illustration to a Rasikapriya series:
Radha, seated in a pavilion, visited by a female companion dressed as a boy
India, Kangra

c. 1820
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper
11 x 7 1/2 in. (28 x 19 cm.)

Provenance: 
Collection of the late Pearl King (1918-2015).
Probably acquired from Maggs Bros or Sothebys London from the 1960’s onwards (based on communication).

An actress (Nati) addresses Radha thus: ‘Hearing from you about Krishna, my desire to see him was kindled in me. He embraced me so closely that even now there is pain round my neck. My experience with him last night was exactly the same, as you had related to me.’ -Translation of the text on verso, six lines in nagari script in black and red ink.
In a painted oval, corner pieces with stylized floral and vegetal motifs in silver on a sky-blue ground with rosettes in orange, yellow inner border with nagari inscription in upper border, pink outer border.
Fourteen paintings from this series are in the Victoria and Albert museum, London; see Archer, W.G., Indian painting from the Punjab Hills, London, 1973, Kangra, no.66 (i)-(vi).
The distinct ovaloid format along with yellow margins and floral surroundings are, according to Archer, based on the Lambagraon Baramasa series, dating them to circa 1820.
Recto (top) translation: nati ko vachan radhika prati, ‘an actress addresses Radhika [Radha]’.

Illustration to a Harivamsa series: Narada warns Kamsa
Attributed to Purkhu
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1820
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper

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Illustration to a Harivamsa series: Narada warns Kamsa
Attributed to Purkhu
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1820
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper
Folio: 18 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (47 x 36.2 cm.)
Image: 16 7/8 x 12 1/2 in. (47.5 x 37 cm.)

Provenance: 
Acquired by Stanley A Kaplan, in India, during the 1940’s-1950’s

The Harivamsa (an account of the Dynasty of Hari [Vishnu]) is a work of three chapters appended to the great epic, the Mahabharata. The first chapter contains an account of the creations and the genealogy of the Yadavas, the family of Krishna and Vasudeva descended from their Aryan ancestor, Yadu. The second chapter describes the life of Krishna and his affairs with the gopis, where many of the stories are similar to those in the Bhagavata Purana. The last chapter deals with prophecies of the present age (Kali Yuga) and other matters unconnected with the title of the work. In Hindu mythology Narada is revered for both his sage advice and his notorious mischievous ways, creating some of vedic literatures most humorous tales. He is known as a master of the Veena, and is frequently depicted with one (as in this particular scene). This painting illustrates the following excerpt from the Bhagavata Purana:
“…The great saint Narada descended from the heavenly planets to the forest of Mathura and sent his messenger to Kamsa. When the messenger approached Kamsa and informed him of Narada’s arrival, Kamsa, the leader of the asuras, was very happy and immediately came out of his palace to receive Narada, who was as bright as the sun, as powerful as fire, and free from all tinges of sinful activities. Kamsa accepted Narada as his guest, offered him respectful obeisances and gave him a golden seat, brilliant like the sun. Narada was a friend of the King of heaven, and thus he told Kamsa, the son of Ugrasena, “My dear hero, you have satisfied me with a proper reception, and therefore I shall tell you something secret and confidential. While I was coming here from Nandakanana through the Caitraratha forest, I saw a great meeting of the demigods, who followed me to Sumeru Parvata. We traveled through many holy places, and finally we saw the holy Ganges. While Lord Brahma was consulting the other demigods at the top of Sumeru Hill, I was also present with my stringed instrument, the vina. I shall tell you confidentially that the meeting was held just to plan to kill the asuras, headed by you. You have a younger sister named Devaki, and it is a fact that her eighth son will kill you.” (reference: Hari-vamsa, Visnu-parva 1.2-16)”

Purkhu is one of the master artists of early Kangra Painting. Active from 1780 – 1820, under the patronage of Maharaja Sansar Chand, he is respected for his brilliant execution of emotionally evocative processional scenes. “Purkhu saw individuals essentially as falling into types. There is no insensitivity to appearances, and he was quick to establish distinctions between one person and another… therefore Purkhu was best in rendering large groups: court scenes, processions, statefestivals, private celebrations, and the like. He was able to invest these scenes with the specific character of each occasion. “(Beach, 2011) In this particular painting our eye is immediately drawn to the foreground, where a courtly meeting surrounded by lush topiary is being held. A chowry-bearer fans Kamsa (inscribed above crown) as the king watches Narada (inscribed in red), the most travelled sage, fly away on the upper right, veena in hand. The lush surround of the court scene is reminiscent of Purkhu’s most famous work for the Gita Govinda series often referred to as the Lambagraon Gita Govinda.

Literature:
Archer, W.G., Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, London, Parke-Bernet, 1973, I: 294- 295
Beach, M.C. et al, Masters of Indian Painting: Vol. II, Zurich, 2011, pgs. 728 – 732
Goswamy, B.N and Fischer, Eberhard, Pahari Masters, Zurich, 1992, pgs. 367- 387

Leaf from a Gita Govinda series: Radha vents her
frustrations
India, Kangra 
c. 1775 – 1780 
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Leaf from a Gita Govinda series: Radha vents her
frustrations
India, Kangra 
c. 1775 – 1780 
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
7 x 10 5/8 in. (17 x 27 cm.)

Provenance: 
Francoise & Claude Bourelier, Paris

The eye is first moved to a landscape showing the forest in spring time. Radha is garbed in a semitransparent skirt comprised of mute colors, brief bodice and bare midriff while sitting beside a bank of the Yamuna surrounded by a grove of trees, gazing over her shoulder to the right as her confidante in a violet skirt and orange wrap draws her attention to the topic of Krishna. Radhas dress is elegant albeit simple, the upper portion a choli and a ghaghra skirt around her waist cascading into gentle folds. A transparent orhani is draped around her body. Paramount attention to detail can be seen in the diaphanous materials depicted on her outfit as well has her intricate jewelry, copious but not gaudy she is adorned with gold, emeralds, and pearls, as well as a nose ring. The ground is lush, boasting multiple shades of greenery. The vakula and tamala trees stand proud and lush, their leaves dark and odorous. The setting is established with meticulous care, great love is placed into every brushstroke. The small rises of the terrain, undulating ground all give a feeling of vast space and openness, but in such a way that attention is not drawn to wander from the foreground in which Radha and her companion are engaged in discussion. Both the face of Radha and her attendant can be surmised to have been derived from a particular type, the shading of Radha done distinctly more elegantly, demonstrating an intentional status remark. Her face is of “porcelain delicacy”, rounded but in such a matter as to not be “fleshy”. Her features are pronounced and sharp, her lips small (an attractive quality of the time), eyebrows gently arched, eyes gazing soft yet discerningly.  “Radhas body is young and lissome; the limbs tender, the breasts full, hands and feet delicate.”(Pahari masters pg 315). Her stance is relaxed and natural, directly mirroring her countenance and echoing her state of mind.
[So profoundly kinetic and lucid is the language and imagery of Jayadevas Gita Govinda that it has become intertwined in the very fabric of India’s culture. Literally translating to “song of the dark lord”, amorous couples new and old alike have their relationships viewed through the lens of Radha and Krishna. Romanticism and nature are intertwined in a manner that is uniquely Indian, the forest itself both literally replicating the actions of the two lovers at times and always reflecting the emotional state of the moment. The appeal of the Gita Govinda has significance on multiple levels; although superficially portraying the ageless story of the arduous love between man and woman, it is also an allegory for the love of god. Radha represents the “ideal woman”, she is gorgeous, independent yet searching for a patriarch, and pure. Krishna, a typical young male, initially overlooks the noble qualities of Radha, Krishna spends languid time fondling and teasing doting gopis (cowherd-girls). This adultery is to be interpreted as Krishna indulging in the delights of the illusionary world.
“Jayadeva employs the fiery sense of passion to color his music; he uses the highest symbols of life to make the love of God a reality to man. The whole song of the Gita Govinda is pervaded by the supreme creative feeling which divides reality into two illusive forms of male and female, and makes them dance like two flames of life; till the measure of perfection is fulfilled by all forms vanishing again into one… The Gita Govinda is the gift to us of a highly lyrical genius that has boldly caught the fiercest flames of the human heart and dashed them in a glory of divine frenzy back on the heavens to announce love on this earth. Of all persons, Jayadeva knows that the purity and richness of the sex-feeling is the richness of sincerity itself. Love without sex is unthinkable; at least on this earth. Youth soaked with the reddest wine of this feeling is the image of that higher and hidden life beyond death, where sex, in the shape of love, is the only vesture of soul.”

Blind Man’s Buff/Hide and Seek
First generation after Manaku
India, Kangra
c. 1775 – 1780
Opaque watercolors heightened with gold on paper

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Blind Man’s Buff/Hide and Seek
First generation after Manaku
India, Kangra
c. 1775-80
Opaque watercolors heightened with gold on paper
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.32 cm.)

Provenance: 
Doris Wiener, September 21st, 1973

The eye is first drawn to a young seated Krishna, the crowned deity with a mauve complexion adorned in a yellow dhoti. His eyes are shielded by a playful Gopa, the mid-section of the piece “a friezelike interplay of figures”. In the foreground a group of seated cows are arranged in a delicate manner evoking a mood of evening pleasure along with a background of lush flowering foliage, typical of the period. Bahadur explains in his footnotes on page 335-336 that cora-mihicani or “blind man’s buff” is a game in which six or seven players take part. One of them, “the thief” has their eyes covered, while the others hide. The thief then runs in search of the others. Those who have hidden try and return to the khutavam, the place where the thief’s eyes were shielded. If the thief can touch a player before he reaches the khutavam that person becomes the next thief. The subject is a deep allegory, as “everything is illusory: the natural world is subsidiary to Krishna’s game; and to the moral lesson it teaches.”

Krishna and Radha playing Yo-Yo
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1810
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Krishna and Radha playing Yo-Yo
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1810
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
6 x 9 1/8 in. (15.2 x 23.2 cm.)

Provenance: 
Private French collection, acquired from Galerie Marco Polo, 1982
Published: 
“Krishna the Divine Lover” Edita-Vilo, Lausanne 1982, ill.
No. 156, p.157. It has also been exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. U.S.A. (Exhibition Poster)

In the palace courtyard Krishna and Radha are sensitively rendered playing yoyo. The thread is knotted on the finger of Krishna but it is Radha who launched the toy. The yoyo symbolizes the contradictory feelings that animate the games of love: the pleasure of meeting and the sadness of separation; affliction caused by a quarrel and the joy of reconciliation.
In their union, Radha serves as the manifestation of devotion, whose love for Krishna symbolizes the passion of the believer in forging a bond with the divine. Likewise, Krishna’s cosmic longing for Radha indicates the desire of god for a deeper relationship with the devotee. Other scenes in Indian miniature painting that employ the yoyo are images of the lonely lady awaiting the return of her partner, playing with the object to distract from the emptiness within her soul left by her lover’s absence.
Just as the yoyo represents the highs and lows of union, Radha and Krishna perpetually find themselves at odds, but always repair whatever fissure arises between them. A narrative from Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda tells of how Krishna threw a naked Radha into the Yamuna before the gopis, embarrassing and infuriating her. She quickly righted herself and seized Krishna by force, snatching his flute and throwing it off into the distance, pulled at his yellow garment, ripped off his flower wreath, and pushed the Lord into the river. After this spat, Krishna emerged from the Yamuna, smiling as he kissed Radha repeatedly. This is just one of many instances where the lovers’ relationship fluctuates unpredictably, but through their duality of spirit, Radha and Krishna maintain balance amidst passion and strife.

Ragini Seehuti, wife of Raga Malkos
India,  Kangra
c. 1800
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Ragini Seehuti, wife of Raga Malkos
India, Kangra
c. 1800
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 8 x 10 3/4 in. (20.3 x 27.3 cm.)
Image: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (16.5 x 23.5 cm.) 

Provenance: 
Private English Collection

“Music is a kind of inarticulate unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the Infinite and lets us for a moment gaze into that, observed Carlyle… The Hindus are unanimous in their praise of music, observes Willard, and extol it as one of the sweetest enjoyments of life, in which the gods are praised with due sublimity, kings and princes have their benevolent and heroic actions recited in the most suitable manner, the affluent enjoy its beauties without reproach, the needy by its aid forget their misery, the unfortunate finds relief by giving vent to his sorrow in song, the lover pays the most gratifying compliment to his mistress, and the coy maiden without a blush describes the ardour of her passion” [Randhawa, 1971]
Ragas and raginis are generally construed to mean certain melody molds. Coomaraswamy defined a raga as a selection of notes combined in certain characteristic progressions, and with certain notes more emphasized than others. Why certain sounds, combined in a particular manner, should have influence on the human mind and provoke emotions of joy and sorrow, still remains as unexplained as the effect of colors on emotions. The majority of raga and ragini paintings of the Kangra Ragamala show love scenes. Love is represented according to the classic definition of Keshav Das as viyoga or love in separation, and samyoga or love in union.

References
Randhawa, M.S., Kangra Ragamala Paintings, National Museum, New Delhi, 1971
Ebeling, Klaus, Ragamala Painting, Ravi Kumar, Basel, 1973

An Illustration To A Mahabharata Series:
Vidura confers with Dhritharashtra
Attributed to Purkhu
North India, Kangra
c. 1820
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper

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An Illustration To A Mahabharata Series:
Vidura confers with Dhritharashtra
Attributed to Purkhu
North India, Kangra
c. 1820
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper
18 1/2 x 13 1/4 in. (47 x 34 cm.)

This leaf from the Mahabharata is a depiction of the scene in which the blind king ofHastinapur, Dhristarashtra, confers with Vidura, the most respected adviser of the Pandavas.
The rival Kauravas and the Pandavas have gathered with weapons at the ready. To the left are Bhima, Yudhishthira, Drona, Arjuna, as well as the twins Nakula, and Sahadeva. To the right stands Duryodhana and Ashwatthama. Clad in shimmering gold armor to the far left, gifted by his father the sun god Surya, stands Karna. To the upper right sits Gandhari, mother of the Kauravas, blindfolded to share her husband’s debility. On the opposite corner is Kunti, mother of the Pandavas.
“In many narrative paintings ascribed to Purkhu and his workshop, diagonals are employed freely in the composition and architecture is a dominant characteristic. Several balconies and terraces, walls and connecting courtyards appear, peopled with multiple figures. Although unable to convey spatial depth in the scene, these elements of design are considered essential for the narrative and for the establishment of atmosphere (Goswamy and Fischer, 1992, pg. 371).”

Love-Lorn Lady
India, Kangra 
c. 1850
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Love-Lorn Lady
India, Kangra 
c. 1850
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 9 3/4  x 11 5/8 in. (24.8 x 29.5 cm.)

Provenance: 
Private English Collection

The Kangra school is well known for its mastery of Indian miniature painting as one of the most prominent artistic centers in Pahari, and it is the paintings of women in longing, virahini nayikas, that are the most sensitively rendered. Vipralambha Shringara, or “love in absence,” addresses this sensual sentiment of separation through four different conventions. The first is Purvanuraga, which characterizes the beginning of a relationship and occurs when the lovers are deprived of the sight of each other’s bodies and suffer pain in longing. The second is Mana, pain in separation caused by a cooling or unfaithful relationship; thirdly is Pravasa, the affection for separated lovers in different locations. Finally, Karuna is the manifestation of grief or sorrow due to separation from death. The present example falls under Pravasa, as the lover has traveled elsewhere and in his absence, the nayika suffers the pain of separation. She is shown clinging to a banana tree for support, her legs too weak and resolve too faint to support herself. Surrounded by a garden of blooming flowers and manicured vegetation, her gown flows elegantly as she lifts one foot out of a sandal. A similar painting is illustrated in M.S. Randhawa, Kangra Paintings, fig. 57, wherein a Nayika clutches a banana tree for support, but instead stands on a terrace and smokes a hookah pipe.
There are numerous depictions of love-lorn ladies that assume different compositions. Lonely women pulling on the branch of a tree, surrounded by one or more animals, looking absently at an oncoming storm, smoking hookah on a terrace surrounded by sakhis, or fanning themselves to cool the fever of love that afflicts them are all examples of virahini (lovesick) nayikas.

Radha and Krishna watching Nautch
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1810
Gouache and gold on paper

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Radha and Krishna watching Nautch
India, Kangra
c. 1800 – 1810
Gouache and gold on paper
10 x 7 1/8 in. (25.4 x 18 cm.)

Narasimha
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper

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Narasimha
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper
Folio: 7 1/2 x 8 in. (19 x 20.3 cm.)
Image: 5 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (14.6 x 15.8 cm.)

A Leaf from the Mahabharata
India, Kangra
c. 19th century
Gouache and gold on paper

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A Leaf from the Mahabharata
India, Kangra
c. 19th century
Gouache and gold on paper
Folio: 11 3/4 x 16 in. (29.8 x 40.6 cm.)
Image: 9 1/4 x 13 1/2 in. (23.4 x 34.3 cm.)

Nayika Bhed, Mugdha: Navala Vadhu (The Newly Wedded)
India, Kangra
c. 1810
Opaque watercolors heightened with gold on wasli

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Nayika Bhed, Mugdha: Navala Vadhu (The Newly Wedded)
India, Kangra
c. 1810
Opaque watercolors heightened with gold on wasli
10 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. (26 x 20 cm.)

Provenance: 
Sotheby’s New York, March 21 and 22, 1990, lot 103

Nayikas are a classification of heroines categorized by their relationship and response to men. They are put into a fourfold grouping by Keshav Das, according to age: up to sixteen (bala), from sixteen to thirty (taruni), from thirty to fifty-five (PraudhaI), and over fifty-five (vriddha) “The old and the learned say that tender in the years, this Nayika grows gradually, and her brilliance increases day by day” – Randhawa This particular scene is an example of Mugdha or Navodha, which is subsequently divided into Navala- Vadha (the newly wedded).
Here the maiden is seen dressed in green and draped by a delicate translucent orhani, garbed in elaborate jewelry seeking comfort from her confidante. Framed by an oval opening with floral arabesques on the spandrels “The young lady has bowed her head; her face is partly veiled. The submissive grace of the Navodha seen in this picture is so typical of countless Indian brides, particularly in the rural area, which has as yet escaped modern education…. we may almost feel the wild beating of her heart and the tremulous touch of her red-stained fingers…” -Coomaraswamy

Reference
Randhawa, M. S. Kangra Paintings on Love. New Delhi: National Museum, 1962. Print. Pgs. 34, 35, figure 11

The month of Asoj leaf from Baramasa, Radha and Krishna
India, Kangra
c. 1810
Gouache and gold on paper

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The month of Asoj leaf from Baramasa, Radha and Krishna
India, Kangra
c. 1810
Gouache and gold on paper
Folio: 11 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. (28.5 x 19.6 cm.)
Image: 8 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. (22.2 x 12 cm.)

Provenance: 
Mandi Royal Collection 1969

Coronation of Rama
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper

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Coronation of Rama
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper
Folio: 11 x 8 1/4 in. (27.9 x 20.9 cm.)
Image: 9 x 6 1/4 in. (22.8 x 15.8 cm.)

Tilangi Ragini
India, Kangra
c. 1800
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Tilangi Ragini
India, Kangra
c. 1800
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
8 x 10 3/4 in. (20.3 x 27.3 cm.)

Provenance: 
Private English Collection

“Music is a kind of inarticulate unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the Infinite and lets us for a moment gaze into that, observed Carlyle… The Hindus are unanimous in their praise of music, observes Willard, and extol it as one of the sweetest enjoyments of life, in which the gods are praised with due sublimity, kings and princes have their benevolent and heroic actions recited in the most suitable manner, the affluent enjoy its beauties without reproach, the needy by its aid forget their misery, the unfortunate finds relief by giving vent to his sorrow in song, the lover pays the most gratifying compliment to his mistress, and the coy maiden without a blush describes the ardour of her passion” [Randhawa, 1971]
Ragas and raginis are generally construed to mean certain melody molds. Coomaraswamy defined a raga as a selection of notes combined in certain characteristic progressions, and with certain notes more emphasized than others. Why certain sounds, combined in a particular manner, should have influence on the human mind and provoke emotions of joy and sorrow, still remains as unexplained as the effect of colors on emotions. The majority of raga and ragini paintings of the Kangra Ragamala show love scenes. Love is represented according to the classic definition of Keshav Das as viyoga or love in separation, and samyoga or love in union.

Shiva under influence of Soma
India, Kangra
Early 19th century
Gouache and gold on paper

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Shiva under influence of Soma
India, Kangra
Early 19th century
Gouache and gold on paper
29 1/2 x 18 in. (75 x 46 cm.)

Provenance:
Private German collection
Private UK collection

Naika Writing
India, Kangra
c.19th Century
Gouache and gold on paper

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Naika Writing
India, Kangra
c.19th Century
Gouache and gold on paper

Folio: 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 in. (24.7 x 19.7 cm.)
Image: 8 1/4 x 6 in. (20.9 x 15.2 cm.)

Yogi Playing Music
India, Kangra
Early 19th Century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper

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Yogi Playing Music
India, Kangra
Early 19th Century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 10 1/2 x 8 in. (26.6 x 20.3 cm.)
Image: 9 x 6 in. (22.8 x 15.2 cm.)

Lady at Her Toilet
India, Kangra
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
Early 19th century

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Lady at Her Toilet
India, Kangra
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
Early 19th century
Folio: 10 1/2 x 7 in. (25.4 x 17.7 cm.)
Image: 7 1/2 x 5 in. (19 x 12.7 cm.)

Provenance:
Christie’s New York, 6 July 1978, lot 64 (listed here as “Telang Ragini of Hindola Raga,” c. 1820)
Bought at Bonham’s March 2018

Equestrian Portrait
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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Equestrian Portrait
India, Kangra
c. 18th century
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
12 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (31 x 26 cm.)

Provenance:
Former collection of Mr. Stimplfle Hubert, German Ambassador in post at Calculta in the 1970s