A girl playing the tambur while her companion listens

Historical period(s)
ca. 1660
Bikaner school
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 12.4 × 8.9 cm (4 7/8 × 3 1/2 in) H x W (overall): 25.8 × 20 cm (10 3/16 × 7 7/8 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Bikaner
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


courtyard, India, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, tambura, woman
Provenance research underway.

Scenes of female friendship begin during the period of Jahangir (1605 - 27). They may have been specifically commissioned by noblewomen, many of whom were powerful patrons of the arts. The gatherings were often represented taking place in palace gardens and on terraces, as seen in Two women seated on a terrace, surrounded by attendants and musicians, F1907.213. According to Steven Kossak, the style and finish of Bikaner paintings during the reign of Maharaja Karan Singh (r. 1632-69), strongly suggests that painters trained in the Mughal atelier joined the Bikaner workshop.

This is a lovely drawing that resonates with Mughal siyah kalam images of women as well as with the nine Bikaner paintings from the Benkaim collection that were selected to create a concentration in a Rajput school that drew heavily upon Mughal prototypes.

Published References
  • The Image of Women in Indian Art. Exh. cat. cat. 48, p. 9, fig. 5.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
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