This extremely sensitive and refined painting shows the confluence of both Deccani and Rajasthani (particularly Bundi/Kotah) traditions. Its glowing color, sensuality and lively movement seem Deccani. Costume details like the maiden's veil and long patka, delicate jeweled ornaments and her fine facial features all seem to suggest a Golconda origin. The maiden's yearning touch of a slender tree trunk is a repeated motif in Deccani works and we may find a comparably insouciant attitude in the "Courtesan" - see Zebrowski, Deccani Painting, London, 1983, fig.179 for a Golconda painting from the latter Seventeenth Century whose mysterious Mona Lisa-like smile reminds us greatly of our young maiden.
Our imploring gray-haired duenna has her counterpart in several known paintings from Kotah and Bundi in Rajasthan during the early Nineteenth Century. We find very close comparables in paintings from Kotah. These works - although not nearly as fine, crisply painted or expressive as our own - depict very similar governess figures with nearly identical hand gestures, costume and frustrated facial expressions. Our charming maiden seems to have originated as a Deccani motif which found favor in Rajasthan - perhaps brought there by relocating Deccani artists able to recapture the lighthearted charm found in the earlier Golconda artworks.
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