Maharana Ari Singh II at a moonlight gathering

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 2

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At A Glance

  • Period

  • Geography

    Udaipur, Rajasthan state, Mewar, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor with gold and silver on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (overall): 67 × 51 cm (26 3/8 × 20 1/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Artist

    Bhima Ram
    Kesu Ram
  • Court

    Mewar Court
  • School/Tradition

    Rajput school
  • Description

    Maharana Ari Singh, splendidly dressed in saffron robes and with a gold nimbus, is seen twice on the rooftop terrace of the palace at Udaipur, attending celebrations at night on the second day of the bright half of the month of Vaisakh, and entertained by dancers, musicians, and fireworks.
    The courtiers accompanying the Maharana are also dressed in saffron robes tied with gold sashes (patkas), as was the custom at the festival of Aksay Tritiya, "The Imperishable Third", held on the following day.
    Ari Singh (r. 1761-1773) is depicted proceeding with his courtiers from the rooftop terrace on the left towards a courtyard on the right, where they sit and watch two dancing girls in crimson dresses with swirling skirts accompanied by musicians. In the first instance Ari Singh is seen holding a ceremonial sword in a red velvet scabbard, while at the nautch (dance) party he enjoys the proceedings while smoking from a gold hookah held by a standing attendant to the right. As was the custom, in both appearances in the continuous narrative, Ari Singh is depicted in haughty and impassive side profile. Candles add to the illumination of the silvery moon in the sky amongst the stars.
    In the courtyard below to the centre of the palace, the presence of a pandal, used in the marriage ceremony and consisting of a canopy on poles with a diminishing stack of clay pots at each corner, suggests that a wedding is to be celebrated. Further below is a tank with silver water, and in the outer courtyard of the palace to the right a firework display is in progress, accompanied by further musicians. The varied fireworks include spinning wheels and flying rockets and the attendant setting off the display runs between each assemblage through the haze of smoke.
    The elegant composition of the painting is beautifully constructed, with the palace opening up like a box to reveal its many treasures. The bold red border, typical of Mewar paintings from Udaipur, forms a wonderful contrast with the white palace bathed in moonlight.
  • Inscriptions

    5[?] naṁ. kī. 30 3/19
    number [in red ink] 3/19 price 30 rupees
    || śri rāmjī 1
    || pāno śrī māhārājādhīrāj māhārāṇājī śrī ar sīhajī rī surat
    [?] ghoḍe tīlak sudar asvār huā thakā] śrī jī sahelyā rī bāḍī
    vesāk sudī 2
    re dīn paraṇ jaṇī dīn rāte bhagtaṇ ro nac karāo jaṇī rī sabī
    ro pāno cītāre bhīme kesurām śrī hajur nījar kīdo
    pāno orī jamā saṁvat 1821 rā māgh vīd 2 bhome jamā
    Shri Ramji 1. Painting of the likeness of Shri
    Maharajadhiraj Maharanaji Shri Ari Singhji. Shriji;
    Saheliyon ri Bari, on the second day of the light half of
    Vaisakh. On the day [before] the wedding [in the] night
    the dance of the bhagtan [female performers] was
    arranged. Artist Bhima, Kesu Ram presented the painting
    of the depiction of that [event] as nazar to his Esteemed
    Highness. Placed in the storeroom in Samvat 1821, on the
    second day of the dark half of Magha [January–February].
  • Provenance

    From 1960s
    British Rail Pension Fund, England, from the 1960s [1]
    To 2000
    Spink & Son Ltd., London, to 2000
    From 2000
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Spink & Son Ltd. in 2000
    [1] The object was brought from India to England in the 1960s, when it entered the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund (according to Curatorial Note 3, Debra Diamond, September 28, 2000, in the object record).
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur (November 19, 2022 to May 14, 2023)
    Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas (October 16, 2004 to January 3, 2016)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Spink & Son Ltd.
  • Origin

    Udaipur, Rajasthan state, Mewar, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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