Property from the Collection of Betsy Salinger

An illustration to a Ragamala series: Vibhasa Ragini, India, Deccan, circa 1750

Auction Closed

October 26, 12:30 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details


gouache heightened with gold on paper, narrow gold border with white and black rules, gold speckled margins, inscribed 'Vibhasa' in nasta'liq script above, and numbered "31"

painting: 19.1 by 12.7cm.

leaf: 25.4 by 17.8cm. 

Kapoor Galleries, New York, 1989.

Resting on a colourful patchwork of floral carpets, two lovers are awakened by the call of a bird in a nearby tree, announcing sunrise. The nayaka (male lover) prepares to stop the disturbance, with his bow and arrow aimed at the harbinger of dawn, so he might linger. A lake and a cluster of trees are seen in a hilly landscape beyond.

This gem-like scene of love in union is embellished by the sensitively rendered attention paid to the lovers themselves - their faces and forms, many splendid jewels, folded robes, and especially the rendering of the heroine’s hair, painted in extremely delicate strokes with a brush made from a single hair. This keen attention to the smallest elements of detail is also observable in the matching floral brocade door and window curtains, and even in the nayaka’s woven jewelled turban, with its crisply defined orange and gold pattern.

For other representations of this subject see Klaus Ebeling, Ragamala Painting, Basel, 1973, p.244, no.199, and Pratapaditya Pal, Ragamala Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, 1967, pp.79-80, no.85.