Wedding ceremony, folio from a Ramayana

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1640-1650
  • Geography

    Mandi, Himachal Pradesh state, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (image): 31.2 × 47.5 cm (12 5/16 × 18 11/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Artist

    Attributed to the Early Mandi Master (active ca. 1635-1660)
  • School/Tradition

    Mandi School
  • Provenance

    Mandi Royal Collection [1]
    Possibly Radha Krishna Bharany (ca. 1877-1942), acquired from the Mandi Royal Collection [2]
    Samarendranath Gupta (1887-1964), possibly purchased from Radha Krishna Bharany [3]
    Hargopal Mehra, New Delhi, India, purchased from Samarendranath Gupta [4]
    Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), purchased from Hargopal Mehra [5]
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim, by inheritance from Ralph Benkaim [4]
    From 2017
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [5]
    [1] According to information provided by Catherine Glynn Benkaim on June 14, 2016, a large cache of paintings was dispersed from the Mandi storerooms in the 1940s. Radha Krishna Bharany (ca. 1877-1942), a dealer in Amritsar, India, was one of two dealers who handled the dispersal. About half the paintings went to Lahore, Pakistan; Hargopal Mehra (a dealer in Delhi) and Coswajee Jahangir (a collector in Mumbai) were among those who acquired them in India. According to Ralph Benkaim’s personal records, he purchased this object from a Hargopal Mehra of New Delhi in November 1969. Mr. Benkaim’s personal records remain with his widow, Catherine Glynn Benkaim. See curatorial notes titled, “Wedding ceremony, folio from a Ramayana,” fn. 1-2, dated May 2019, copy in object file.
    Radha Krishna Bharany (ca. 1877-1942) was a dealer and collector of textile and Indian painting in Amritsar, India. His son, Chhotelal (C. L.) Bharany, also became a dealer and a collector of Indian art across various genres, but he is known for specializing in Indian paintings. C. L. Bharany inherited and expanded upon his father’s personal collection, and, in 2014, he gave objects from the joint collection to the National Museum in Kolkata. See “A Passionate Eye: Textiles, Paintings, and Sculptures from the Bharany Collections,” ed. Giles Tillotson (Mumbai: The Marg Foundation, 2014).
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] It can be determined that this object was previously in the collection of Samarendranath Gupta and this object was one of five Mandi “Ramayana” folios that Gupta sold to the Delhi dealer, Hargopal Mehra. See notes from interview between Jagdish Mittal and Debra Diamond, Curator for South and Southeast Asian Art, from February 13, 2023, copy in object file.
    Information regarding Samarendranath Gupta’s acquisition of this object is unknown. Gupta was known to be a client of Radha Krishna Bharany, and thus possibly acquired it from Bharany. See note 1. See also Pratapaditya Pal, “In Pursuit of the Past: Collecting Old Art in Modern India, circa 1875-1950,” (Mumbai: Marg, 2015), p. 98.
    When Samarendranath Gupta sold the five “Ramayana” folios to Hargopal Mehra is unknown. According to Pratapaditya Pal, Jagdish Mittal had purchased one of the “Ramayana” folios from Hargopal Mehra as late as 1969. The folio is now in the collection of the Jagdish and Kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art in Hyderabad, India (Mittal 76.232 PM 2). See Pal, “In Pursuit of the Past,” p. 101, fn. 18 (an email from Mittal to Pal), ill. 6.10 (Mittal 76.232 PM 2).
    Samarendranath Gupta (1887-1964) was an artist, professor, curator, scholar, and collector of Indian paintings in Lahore (now in Pakistan) and Kolkata, India. Born in Lahore, Gupta was the son of journalist and was an artist of the Bengal School. Gupta became a direct of the Mayo College of Art in Lahore and a curator of the Lahore Museum. Gupta has various interests, one of which was collecting Indian paintings. While serving at the Lahore Museum, he also helped to shape the museum’s painting collection and, in 1922, he published the “Catalogue of Paintings in the Central Museum Lahore.” Gupta was also a pioneering scholar of Pahari pictures. In 1942 Gupta moved from Lahore to Kolkata, India.
    [4] See note 1.
    Hargopal Mehra was a dealer of Indian paintings in New Delhi, India during the late 1960s.
    [5] See note 1.
    Ralph Benkaim was an entertainment lawyer from Los Angles who started collecting Indian and Islamic art in 1961.
    [4] Catherine Glynn Benkaim is a collector and scholar in the field of Indian painting. Ms. Benkaim met her husband, Ralph Benkaim, in the 1970s when she was the curator of Indian painting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The couple were married 1979 and together they amassed a collection of Indian paintings, which included examples from all genres. They collected objects for their collection through dealers and auctions. Objects from their collection may also be found in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others.
    [5] See “Benkaim Collection of Rajput and Pahari Paintings, Purchase Agreement,” dated December 6, 2017, copy in object file.
    Research updated February 17, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Body Image (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    Wonder of the Age: Painters of India (September 28, 2011 to January 8, 2012)
    Masters of Indian Painting (April 28, 2011 to January 8, 2012)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Mandi Royal Collection
    Possibly Radha Krishna Bharany (ca. 1877-1942)
    Samarendranath Gupta (1887-1964)
    Hargopal Mehra (active 1960's)
    Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001)
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim
  • Origin

    Mandi, Himachal Pradesh state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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