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Folio from a dispersed Madhu Malati manuscript: Wounded hero Madhu is reconciled with his father in law. Dated in the manuscript colophon 1799. Opaque watercolour with on wasli. 16.5 x 21.3cm
A young Madhu, a comparatively lowly minister's son, having secretly married the king's daughter Malati is subsequently pursued by the king's army to be captured and brought back for punishment. Against all odds, but with help from sympathetic gods, Madhu routs the army in such heroic fashion that the king accepts the marriage. In this illustration the wounded Madhu is back before the king.
Madhu Malati concerns the romantic hero Madhu and romantic heroine Malati, not to be confused with the well known story's elaboration Madhumalati by the Sufi poet Manjhan at Awadh in 1545 with the subjects renamed Manohar and Madhumalati or the much extended Gulshan i-'Ishq (Rose Garden of Love) by the court poet Nusrati Bijapuri. This enduringly popular romance served a higher purpose with love in separation persevering throughout the severest of trials and tribulations a Sufi allegory of the soul's journey to union with God. Despite Madhu Malati having been extended by these and other authors it evidently found its way to the Pahari region where in 1799 the Kulu painter Bhagawan Das completed illustrating a manuscript for Maharaja Pritam Singh (1767-1806). Krishna Chaitanya in A History of Indian Painting: Rajasthani Traditions, 1984, pp.94-5, discusses Jagdish Mittal's acquisition in the mid-20th century of this manuscript, since dispersed.
Published: Indian Miniature Paintings: Tenth Annual Exhibition, Nov.16- Dec. 31 1974, Doris Wiener Gallery, cat. 64
Maharaja Pritam Singh of Kulu and descendants 1799-circa1950
Jagdish Mittal, circa 1950 - ?
Doris Wiener circa 1970 - 2012
Inventory LC000049 SOLD
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