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Folio from an Amaru Shataka manuscript. In a palace pavilion a lovelorn lady and her confidante converse. Malwa, circa 1650. Opaque watercolour on wasli. 21.8 x 14.7cmIn the 8th century the Hindu poet Amaru wrote 100 (shataka) verses on matters and moods relating to love and the differences between nayaka and nayika (male and female lovers). This comes from a dispersed manuscript folios from which are widely published (e.g. Pal P, 'The Classical Tradition in Rajput Paintings', 1978, cat.10; Bautze J, 'Lotosmund und Lowenritt', 1991, cats. 79-80) with examples held by major international museums such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Mumbai; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK and in private collections. Many share a distinctive pattern of rubbing and flaking to the area of sky, upper right, as here. At around the same time a ragamala series in the same style was also produced.
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Images and text © Peter Blohm