Arts of the Islamic World and India

Arts of the Islamic World and India

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 152. An illustration from the 'Boston' Ragamala series: Bangala Ragaputra, India, Rajasthan, Kota, circa 1760-70.


An illustration from the 'Boston' Ragamala series: Bangala Ragaputra, India, Rajasthan, Kota, circa 1760-70

Auction Closed

April 24, 03:45 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details


gouache heightened with gold on paper, black and red rules, the buff margins with black floral and foliate designs, the upper margin with identification inscription in devanagari script

painting: 18.3 by 12.1cm.

leaf: 33.8 by 24cm.

Ex-collection Dr. & Mrs. William K. Ehrenfeld, San Francisco

Sotheby's, New York, 21-22 March 1990, lot 25

D. Ehnbom, Indian Miniatures from the Ehrenfeld Collection, New York, 1985, no.63, pp.138-9

Indian Miniatures from the Ehrenfeld Collection, American Federation of Arts, September 1985-November 1987

This Ragamala illustration is from a set commonly known as the ‘Boston’ Ragamala series as thirteen folios are in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The paintings are based on Kshmakarna’s classification of the ragamala system where each has five wives (ragini) and eight sons (ragaputra). Bangala ragaputra is the son of Bhairava Raga and not the son of Hindola as mentioned in the inscription of the present work. According to the visual iconography suggested by Kshemakarna (also known as Mesakarna), the ragaputra is as a knowledgeable man, dressed in white garments, reciting the Vedas, carrying a rosary and a drinking vessel, all of which corresponds with the depiction in our painting. The visual description also mentions that the ragaputra is of a garrulous nature, and fond of music and dance (Ebeling 1973, p.72). In contrast, the seated figure in this painting is a solemn ascetic, seated on a deerskin with folded hands in front of a lingam shrine, with a tame leopard sitting nearby.


The Boston Ragamala series was initially thought to have been painted in Bundi. This attribution has now been revised to Kota, based on the facial modelling of the figures, the cool palette employed, and the attention to detail, amongst other factors. The series would have originally consisted of more than eighty-four illustrated folios. It was formerly in the collection of Thakur Akshan Singh of Dilwara, near Ajmer in Rajasthan (ibid., 1973, pp.192-3). In addition to the paintings in Boston, further folios are held in various private and public collections including the the William Theo Brown & Paul Wonner Collection (see Pal 1976, no.27); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1978.534.2; 1978.540.4; 2000.244); Cleveland Museum of Art (2018.179); Denver Art Museum (1981.352); and the Museum Rietberg, Zurich (2009.1203). For additional folios sold at auction, see Sotheby’s, New York, 28 October 1991, lot 24; Important Indian Paintings from the Gloria Katz and William Huyck Collection, 22 March 2002, lots 23, 24; and more recently, Christie’s, New York, 22 March 2023, lot 417.