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Folio from a Rasikapriya: Invocation and Blessings to Vishnu . Brahmins wave arati lamps and blow shankhas (conches) during Vishnupuja. Malwa, circa 1660. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 22.8 x 16.7cm
Provenance: the private collection of the Swiss artist and pioneering scholar in the field of Indian art history, Dr Alice Boner (1889-1981)
This scene of Vishnu puja (ritual worship) fits with the first chapter - 'Invocation and Blessing' - of the Rasikapriya of Keshav Das. In the translation by Bahadur, K R, 1972, p.5:
The nine emotions
Says Keshavadasa, of these the prime
Is love – which has over others sway,
And mighty Hari*; Lord Divine
Is love’s own chosen god for aye.
*Hari here is Vishnu. Bahadur informs that 'The Poet says that love is the leader of all other emotions and its god is the Lord Vishnu himself', p.11 note 28
Thanks to the kindness of Tarun Pant for identification of the manuscript and translation of inscription.
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Images and text © Peter Blohm