Mounted on a Nineteenth Century album folio with two foliate inner borders between ink and gold foil ruled lines. Orange outer borders with gold scrolling flower and leaf designs.
Part Sufi or part Shaivite saint? We do not know the identity of this lovely yogini who may have been a princess with her strands of pearls and ornaments - her gilt-edged fan set with jewels - but who now appears a renunciate and solitary in her pose. It is her ethereal quality that mesmerizes us - she seems to stand haloed somewhere between heaven and earth.
This beautiful painting represents the discovery of a previously unrecorded depiction of a Yogini from early Seventeenth Century Bijapur. It may be attributable to the Mughal and Persian-trained Deccani artist Farrukh Husain (also known as Farrukh Beg) based upon similarities to other works inscribed or attributed to him. A painting attributed to him, in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, depicts a "Groom Calming His Horse" (M. Zebrowski, Deccani Painting, London, 1983, pp. 98-99) which shares its glowing emerald-green shaded ground, superbly rendered figure types with oval shaped heads and delicate facial shading. A related painting "Saraswati Plays on a Vina" in the City Palace Museum Jaipur bears an inscription: "humble Farrukh Husain painter of Ibrahim 'Adil-Shah" and depicts a yogini-like female holding a vina. Datable to circa 1604 it also shows an oval head and shaded face, with sections of a similarly shaded emerald green color (N. Haidar and M. Sardar, Sultans of the South: Arts of India's Deccan Courts 1323-1687, New York, 2011 p. 34-37). These two compositions contain complex landscape and architectural elements - unlike our own yogini depicted against a flat green ground - but the meticulous detail and mysterious air of the works are comparable.
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