Shri Raga, from the Chawand Ragamala

The lord wearing a red turban and white four-pointed jama, holding a flower in one hand while attending to a Saivite musician with a vina who kneels before him, and his companion behind him with a pair of hand-cymbals. Another attendant waves a cauri above the lord. Shoes and utensils are in the foreground. A tasseled canopy appears in the center of the red-walled chamber; a cupola and turrets rise against a starry sky. The border is pale yellow with a red rule and, at the top, bears the inscription. This is a page of a set of 42.

Maker(s)
Artist: Nasiruddin
Historical period(s)
Sisodia dynasty, Reign of Maharana Amar Singh, 1605
Movement
Mewar Court
School
Rajput School
Medium
Opaque watercolor on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 20.2 × 18.7 cm (7 15/16 × 7 3/8 in) H x W x D (exhibition frame): 53.3 × 43.2 × 4.4 cm (21 × 17 × 1 3/4 in)
Geography
India, Mewar, Rajasthan state, Chawand
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
F1991.1
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 28a: A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf with painting

Keywords
flower, India, music, ragamala, Sisodia dynasty (861 - 1947), vina
Provenance

To 1971
Doris Wiener Gallery, New York [1]

From 1971 to 1991
Carter Burden, New York purchased from Doris Wiener Gallery, New York in 1971 [2]

1991
Sale, New York, Sotheby’s, The Carter Burden Collection of Indian Paintings, March 27, 1991, lot no. 6: “A Page from the “Chawand” Ragamala. Sri Raga: a Lord Seated on a Throne Listening to Musicians” [3]

From 1991
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC purchased at auction, “The Carter Burden Collection of Indian Paintings,” Sotheby’s, New York, March 27, 1991, lot no. 6, “A Page from the “Chawand” Ragamala. Sri Raga: a Lord Seated on a Throne Listening to Musicians” through Andrew Kahane, Ltd., Oriental Art [4]

Notes:

[1] See invoice from Doris Wiener Gallery, Inc., dated November 24, 1971 to Carter Burden, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See Sotheby’s, New York auction catalogue, The Carter Burden Collection of Indian Paintings, from the sale of March 27, 1991.

[4] See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office. See also correspondences with Andrew Kahane, Ltd., Oriental Art in the object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Doris Wiener Gallery
Sotheby's (New York)
Carter Burden

Description

The lord wearing a red turban and white four-pointed jama, holding a flower in one hand while attending to a Saivite musician with a vina who kneels before him, and his companion behind him with a pair of hand-cymbals. Another attendant waves a cauri above the lord. Shoes and utensils are in the foreground. A tasseled canopy appears in the center of the red-walled chamber; a cupola and turrets rise against a starry sky. The border is pale yellow with a red rule and, at the top, bears the inscription. This is a page of a set of 42.

Inscription(s)

vicitra sihāsana madhya varttā kaṃtā pavitrābhiḍa[?] tīti
śubhraṃ
kurvanu kathā nārada-tubarābhyāṃ
śrī rāga rāja kathitā munaṅdrai
śrī rāga pūraṣa rāga 35
Splendidly enthroned, of peerless beauty and lovely as
the autumn moon, he sits hearing stories from Narada
and Tumbaru. By the great sages he is called Sriraga King.
[raga 35]
The Sanskrit is corrupt and the meaning is inconclusive;
the modified translation is given in Ebeling, Klaus.
Ragamala Painting. Basel: Ravi Kumar, 1973, p. 124.

Label

One of the six chief musical modes, Shri Raga (shri means "honored" and raga is a musical mode) is personified in this painting as a prince seated on his throne listening to two musicians. Each raga is associated with a particular season, time of day, and emotion:  here, it is winter in the late afternoon, and the emotion evoked is love.

This Ragamala set is among the earliest inscribed and dated Rajput works. It was painted at Chawand in Mewar. This small town lies south of Chittor Fort, which had been seized by imperial Mughal troops in 1568.

Published References
  • The Carter Burden Collection of Indian Paintings., 1991. .
  • Anna Libera Dahmen-Dallapiccola. Ragamala-Miniaturen von 1475 bis 1700. Schriftenreihe des Südasien-Instituts der Universität Heidelberg Wiesbaden. cat. 31.7.
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur. Exh. cat. Munich, 2022. cat. 2, pp. 73, 320.
  • A Magic World: New Visions of Indian Painting. Mumbai, India. p. 127, fig. 13.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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