INDIA | DECCAN

A Leaf from a Ragini
Inscribed Nand Dasi (Yogini) 
India, Deccan
c. 17th century
Gouache with gold on paper

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A Leaf from a Ragini
Inscribed Nand Dasi (Yogini)
India, Deccan
c. 17th century
Gouache with gold on paper
Folio: 12 x 8 in. (30.4 x 20.3 cm.)
Image: 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (16.5 x 8.9 cm.)

This folio is meant to embody a musical composition; each Raga or Ragini is capable of emoting and is attributed unique characteristics, so it was natural that these compositions could be translated into visual artwork. These types of works were encouraged between the 16th and 19th centuries by Mughal rulers who patronised the mass production of miniature paintings. While this and many other works were influenced by Mughal persuasion, Deccani elements can be seen here through treatment of line. The female figure’s robes are curving, taking up an almost lyrical form that is frequently designated as a Deccani feature.

Portrait of Nobleman on Each Side
India, Deccan
c.17th century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper

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Portrait of Noblemen on Each Side India, Deccan
c. 17th century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 18 x 11 in. (45.7 x 27.9 cm.)
Image: 10 x 6 1/2 in. (25.4 x 16.5 cm.)

Angels Bring Food to Ibrahim Adham at Dawn
Calligraphy panel on verso
Hyderabad, circa 1750-75 A.D.
Opaque watercolour with gold on paper, with double foliate borders, mounted on a gold-sprinkled album page

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Angels Bring Food to Ibrahim Adham at Dawn
Calligraphy panel on verso
Hyderabad, circa 1750-75 A.D.
Opaque watercolour with gold on paper, with double foliate borders, mounted on a gold-sprinkled album page
25.6 by 18 cm. painting; 46.5 by 35.7 cm. album page

Exhibited
Worlds Beyond: Death and the Afterlife in Art
Cartwright Hall, Bradford, December-February 1993
Castle Museum, Nottingham, March-April 1994
Walsall City Art Gallery, May-June 1994

Inscription
‘Ibrahim Adham [God’s] mercy be upon him’
On the reverse is a Persian prose text in nasta’liq on the life of Ibrahim Adham.

Provenance
Sotheby’s, London, 14 February 1987, lot 16
Private collection, Derbyshire, 1987-2010
‘Abraham son of Adam’ is pictured asleep beneath a rock at sunrise leaning on his fakir’s crutch, warmed by a fire, wearing a patchwork dervish cloak, while two angels swoop down through the trees to bring him food in gold dishes. The scene is set in a striking landscape with a flower- and bird-filled lake in the foreground and another behind the saint, leading to a rocky landscape typical of the Deccan with buildings perched on conical hills.

Ibrahim Adham was an eighth-ninth century King of Balkh who sought God but through several spiritual visitations realised that he could not find Him whilst living the luxurious life of the palace. Surrendering his kingship, he became a wandering dervish and achieved a semi-mythical status. The subject of this painting illustrates one of the most popular stories about him and was frequently depicted in eighteenth century Mughal India. For examples from Avadh and Murshidabad, see Falk and Archer 1981, nos. 325 and 367, respectively; Kühnel 1922, pl. 140, (Avadh), and Hurel 2010, no. 211, (Murshidabad).

References
Kühnel, E., ‘Mihr Tschand, ein unbekannter Mogulmaler’, in Berliner Museen, 43, 1922
Falk, T., and Archer, M., Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library, London, 1981
Hurel, R., Miniatures et Peintures Indiennes, Paris, 2010