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Ragamala illustration: Tanka Ragini. Provincial Hyderabad, circa 1810-30. Opaque watercolour with tooled gold on wasli. 30.2 x 18.9cm
A loverlorn begum lies unconsolable on a bed with a concerned aseel; maidservants are in attendance. This iconography is particular to the Deccan. Rajasthani iconography includes a lovelorn lady in similar position on a bed, but alone or on a bed with her lover standing by. Deccani ragamala illustrations are well known for departing from established iconography. Other Deccani examples are in the The Lawrence J Schoenberg Collection: Ragamala Manuscript, (folio 16) in Penn Libraries, University of Pennsylvania; Sotheby's, Arts of the Islamic World, London, 24 April 2013, lot 78, there catalogued as "Megha (?) Ragini" exemplifying difficulties caused by irregular iconography.
Begum, noblewoman; aseel, female slave of high status in the zenana or womens' quarters
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Above: tooled gilt detail reflecting light
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