Folio from a Ragamala series: Devgandhar Ragini. Bikaner, circa early 18th century. Watercolour on warqa. 18.2 x 13.4cm
In poetic descriptions of this ragini the figure is a lovelorn woman who in the belief it would bring about the return of her husband practiced severe austerities for so long that the gods turned her into an ascetic complete with dreadlocked hair and ash-smeared body. In pictorial representations this figure is sometimes seen with a semblance of womanhood but more often - as here - is shown as a male with long unkempt beard. This example is in the Mughal style - tiger skin apart - influenced by European prints which also affected painting around this time at Bikaner due to its close ties with the Imperial court.