Malashri Ragini from a Ragmala series

Historical period(s)
Malwa Court
Central Indian School
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Malwa style
H x W: 19.7 x 14.8 cm (7 3/4 x 5 13/16 in)
India, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh state
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


heroine, India, longing, lotus, music, ragamala, tree

To 1924
Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Boston to 1924 [1]

From 1924
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Boston in 1924 [2]


[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note.

[2] See note 1. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy 1877-1947


A ragamala (garland of ragas, or musical modes) is a unique genre of painting that may be termed "pictorial music". It represents a series of musical modes that correspond to emotional states generally associated with specific times of day or seasons of the year. Musical modes may be male ragas or female raginis, and each is expressed in terms of human love.

This painting of the Malasri ragini depicts Malasri plucking petals from a lotus flower while her attendant maids fan her with a fly whisk. The Hindi couplet written on the reverse says that Malasri and her maids smell of lotus blossoms and dream of their lovers even in the daytime. The Malasri ragini is a musical mode suitable for all hours.

The painting is intended to evoke the emotional state aroused during a performance of the Malasri ragini,when one experiences an intense longing for union with the beloved- a metaphor for union with god.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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