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Folio from a ragamala series: Bairadi Ragini (?) . Signed by Faqirullah. Awadh, circa 1755-70 . Opaque watercolour with gold mounted onto an album page with gold repeating pattern of a meandering floral motif. 28.5 x 18.3cm
The series was produced by Fath Chand and Faqirullah. One or both is thought to have migrated to Awadh in search of patronage having - prior to the sack of Delhi - been employed at the workshop of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. The precise date of production remains uncertain. Faqirullah produced 17 of the 36 in the series. The style is close to that of the Mughal court with production being so soon after its collapse. Later both artists adapted their styles according to the taste of their new patrons.
Provenance: Irish private collection acquired from Spink on 26th August 1982 as Bairadi Ragini.
Bairadi Ragini in my opinion an uncertain attribution as according to Ebeling its iconography is particular to Jaipur and otherwise features a seated couple in or by a bedchamber whereas in paintings for Malava Ragini the iconography - which in both Ebeling and Waldshmidt feature a couple moving toward a bedchamber/pavilion - was used more widely. Our painting's inscription in Persian is "Marwa" which to my knowledge offers no help regarding which raga/ragini the folio represents.
With thanks to the kindness of Tarun Pant for his translation.
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Images and text © Peter Blohm