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Ragamala illustration: Desvarati Ragini. Jaipur, circa 1760. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli*. 27.3 x 19.5cm

*Wasli is built up from layers of handmade paper pasted together with wheat-paste then polished smooth with a rounded piece of agate. It was created specifically for miniature paintings so that the paper surface did not warp

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Above: gilt detail reflecting light

Images and text © Peter Blohm 2012