Vilaval Ragini, from a Ragamala

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1690-95
  • Geography

    Basohli, Jammu and Kashmir, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (overall): 20.3 × 19.7 cm (8 × 7 3/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • School/Tradition

    Basohli school
  • Provenance

    To 1973
    Marjory Buckle, Hong Kong [1]
    From 1973 to 2001
    Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Marjory or Marjorie Buckle in New York in June 1973 [2]
    From 2001 to 2018
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, ownership was transferred after the death of her husband, Ralph Benkaim in 2001 [3]
    From 2018
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [4]
    [1] It is very likely that this widely-exhibited and well-published painting was in a Hong Kong collection prior to September 1972.
    [2] In 1973 this and other Indian paintings were in the collection of Marjory Buckle, an American who lived in Hong Kong. When she decided to disperse her collection, she contacted Willie Wolff, a New York City dealer who specialized in Asian sculpture, not painting. According to correspondence between Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Debra Diamond in June 2016: when Ralph Benkaim was in New York City in 1973, Willie Wolff brought the paintings to his attention. Ms. Benkaim does not know the exact date of Mr. Benkaim’s New York City visit because the trip took place prior to their marriage. Mr. Benkaim’s handwritten records indicate that he signed the check in June 1973. There is no paperwork indicating if the check was directly made out to Marjory Buckle and/or if the paintings were shipped directly from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.
    Everything argues for a somewhat protracted process: it is unlikely that a westerner in the 1970s (other than a handful of well-known professional dealers) could have amassed a collection of Indian paintings in a few months (that is, acquiring after September 1972, when Indian paintings were first listed as antiquities, and then selling by June 1973). Wolff did not take the Buckle paintings on consignment because he did not deal in paintings, and Wolff only mentioned the paintings to Ralph Benkaim when they met in New York City. According to information from Catherine Glynn Benkaim to Debra Diamond in June 2016.
    [3] See Acquisition Justification Form, object file, Collections Management Office.
    [4] See note 3.
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Marjory Buckle
    Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Benkaim
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim
  • Origin

    Basohli, Jammu and Kashmir, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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