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Folio from a ragamala: Vibhasa Raga. Maratha, circa early 18th century. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 29 x 19.2cm
Comparable in style,with similar borders, is a ragamala painting illustrated in 'Indian Miniature Painting. The Collection of Earnest C Watson & Jane Werner Watson', 1971, cat. 136. Slightly smaller than that here (possibly due to its borders having cropped edges?) it is erroneously atrributed to Malwa on the basis of the border motif, and I presume its features which became known as 'Central Indian'.
The picture seen here is according to the text Raga Hindol Ragini putra (Vibhas Raga, son of Hindol Ragini) but bears no relation to its iconography which should feature a loving couple and a bow made of flowers. Its fanciful iconography is shared by some Deccani ragamala illustrations said to be the result of ragamala sets being finding their way from Rajasthan to there but without accompanying texts. In some such sets with raginis etc missing, local artists themselves simply made up new iconography. Regardless of subject, the style here does not fit with Malwa but instead is closely comparable to the pictures illustrating the 18th century manuscript published in 'Mysteries of Love: Maratha Miniatures of the Rasamanjari', Tripathi SV, 2001.
With thanks to the kindness of Taun Pant for identifying the name given.
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Above: gilt detail and burnished surface reflecting light
Images and text © Peter Blohm