315
315

PROPERTY FROM THE LANIER COLLECTION

A SADHU AND A MYNAH BIRD
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 12,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
315

PROPERTY FROM THE LANIER COLLECTION

A SADHU AND A MYNAH BIRD
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 12,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art Including Property from The Cleveland Museum of Art

|
New York

A SADHU AND A MYNAH BIRD
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
image: 8 1/4 by 5 3/4 in. (21 by 14.6 cm)
folio: 9 2/3 by 6 3/4 in. (22.8 by 15.2 cm)
India, Pahari, Bilaspur, mid-18th Century
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Provenance

Acquired 1990

Catalogue Note

A very delicate painting of an sadhu (holyman) clad in a yellow dhoti.  He fingers a mala (rosary) of prayer beads and his hair pulled back and rolled into a small topknot.  Seated on a deerskin rug on a white terrace outside of a fine white marble domed temple or hermitage with gold vessels spread near him.  He is intently looking at a small mynah bird standing on the cut branch of a nearby tree - who stares earnestly in return.  They converse in silence.  Another mynah observes from a higher bough.  A flight of insects cross the sky.  Against a mossy green ground the feathery branches of a tall willow tree arch over the top.

The principal background palette of mossy green and white, capped with a white band and cloudy blue sky - as well as compositional devices like the curiously orderly linear flight of insects and arching wispy willow are indicators of a Bilaspur origin (previously suggested in conversation with the present owner by Toby Falk).  

The subject is unusual.  The mynah bird is a "talking" bird - capable of imitating human speech and appears here locked in a conversation with the holyman - either receiving or delivering a message.  A talking bird - like a winged angel - may be seen metaphorically as a conduit or messenger communicating between heaven and earth.  Another earlier painting from the Deccan finds our sadhu's female Shaivite counterpart depicted as a yogini with a mynah bird (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: inventory no. IIA.31) standing in an surrealistic dream landscape mysteriously conversing with a tame mynah.

Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art Including Property from The Cleveland Museum of Art

|
New York