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A courtesan dressed in fashionable finery cools her ardour by fanning herself and standing close to an ornamental fountain. Lucknow, circa 1850. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 20.7 x 14.3cm
She is dressed in the distinctive Awadhi fashion current in mid-19th C, kalidar (pants/trousers) the full gathered front so voluminous as to require holding up to walk (as here), fine sheer dupatta (scarf) worn by dancers and courtesans over bare skin, and slippers with curled-back toes. The background finely detailed including birds in the shrubs planted in the terrace bed and behind the balustrade as well as in the distant sky.
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Above: gilt detail reflecting light
Images and text © Indian Miniature Paintings Ltd