A NAYIKA WITH ATTENDANTS AND A DOLL, INDIA, PAHARI, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
gouache with gold on paper, inner blue border with gold floral motifs, outer pink-speckled border, framed
painting: 22.4 by 16cm.
In good condition, minor stains, minor oxidation to the silver, minor smudges, as viewed.
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A scene involving a young beauty with attendants holding a doll or figurine of a prince represents different aspects of a heroine’s longing for her lover. In some examples there are two dolls, one male and one female, representing the two lovers and Archer suggests this might indicate a recent estrangement or a romantic re-enactment (e.g. a Mandi painting of the early nineteenth century in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 4648E/(IS), see Archer 1973, vol.I, p.364, no.52, vol.II, p.277, no.52; see also Coomaraswamy 1926, vo.V, no.312, pl.98). In others, such as the present example and two Pahari drawings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv.nos. 17.2525 and 17.2538) a single male doll dressed as a prince is present, and this may represent Virahini Nayika, the heroine longing for her lover.