The Sundar Shringar, a poetic text dealing with the moods of love and the classification of heroines or nayika bheda was composed by the poet Sundar Kavi, a contemporary of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the mid-seventeenth century. In this instance the artist has chosen the characters of Radha and Krishna to depict the idealized notions of courtship and romance between the hero and heroine, which are celebrated in the poem.
There is a striking similiarity between the present series and the famous Tehri Garhwal Gita Govinda series, which in the words of Randhawa, '... are the finest Kangra paintings in existence... They have a strange dreamlike quality, and have an air of tenderness and refinement.' Indeed the finesse of color, line and form in the present lot suggests that the artist was aware of the other series and may have possibly worked in the court atelier at the same period.
Compare with similar works illustrated in Joseph M. Dye III, The Arts of India, 2001, no. 151, p. 350; Darielle Mason, Intimate Worlds: Indian paintings from the Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2001, no. 82, p. 192; William G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, 1973, vol. II, pl. 33 (i)-33(vii); and Daniel Ehnbom, Indian Miniatures: The Ehrenfeld Collection, 1985, no. 119, p. 321. For other illustrations from the same series, see Sotheby's New York, April 1, 2005, lots 110-113, Sotheby's New York, September 20, 2005, lots 106-109 and Sotheby's New York, March 29, 2006, lots 149-152.
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