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Folio from a ragamala series: Vasant Ragini. Murshidabad, circa 1755. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 27.5 x 17.3cm
From the series discussed by Robert Skelton in Marg, Vol. X, 1956, no. 1, 'Murshidabad Paintings' pp.10-22. The countenance of Siraj-ud-daula 'representing the accepted canon of masculine beauty at the time' is used for that of the nayaka, romantic hero, in this series which Skelton praises for its having gained for Murshidabad painting 'a new freedom and freshness of vision...(in which) the romantic theme is treated with both ardour and restraint. The slightly artificial formality of the earlier style has been swept away, colour takes on a fresh gaiety, and a new feeling for the vitality of living forms is achieved by greater relaxation of line and softer modelling.' (p.14). Two folios from the collection of Mrs. D'Arcy Hart provide illustratrations: Hindola Raga (cover and fig.4), Kakubha Ragini (fig.5 ). Their borders appear to have been cropped in the same manner as with our painting and also Dipak Raga and Desakh Ragini elsewhere in these webpages.
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Images and text © Peter Blohm