Meeting at a Calamitous Moment from a Rasikapriya of Keshav Das

Historical period(s)
Sisodia dynasty, ca. 1660
Mewar Court
Rajput School
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W: 28.9 x 23.5 cm (11 3/8 x 9 1/4 in)
India, Mewar, Rajasthan state, Udaipur
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf with painting

India, Rasikapriya, Sisodia dynasty (861 - 1947), WWII-era provenance

Sri Motichand Khajanchi, Bikaner, India, in 1960 [1]

From 1961 to 1972
Stuart Cary Welch, Warner, NH, from 1961 [2]

From 1972 to 1998
R.E. Lewis, Belvedere, CA, purchased at auction, Stuart Cary Welch Collection, Sotheby's, London, December 12, 1972, lot no. 87 [3]

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from R.E. Lewis in 1998


[1] According to Curatorial Note 5, Milo C. Beach, November 1998, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1. Also, Curatorial Note 5, Milo C. Beach, November 1998, in the object record indicates that a private collector in California might have owned the object for a period, having purchased it from R.E. Lewis at some point before R.E. Lewis eventually sold the object to the Freer Gallery of Art.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Sri Moti Chand Khajanchi India, Bikaner
Ray E. Lewis 1923-2005
Stuart Cary Welch 1928-2008


The inscription along the top of the painting is from the fifth chapter of the Rasikapriya, a Hindi text in the genre of riti or courtly love poetry, compiled by Keshav Das who lived between 1555-1617. The text contains extensive taxonomies of heroes and heroines, of lovers meeting and quarrels, and the role of go-between. While the verses generally relate to Rajput courtly life, on occasion poet Keshav Das used god Krishna and his beloved Radha--India's quintessential lovers--to illustrate a love situation.

The scene represents atibhaya milana, or the meeting of lovers at a calamitous moment. Above, deep within a palace complex on fire, the heroine lies asleep on a bed as Krishna embraces her. The flames indicate danger, but also provide a metaphor for the passion of the lovers.  In the outer courtyards and along the palace walls, servants attempt to douse the flames with pots of water. Text describing the scene is at the top.

Published References
  • Harsha V. Dehejia. Rasikapriya: Ritikavya of Keshavdas in Ateliers of Love. .
  • Karl J. Khandalavala, Moti Chandra, Pramod Chandra. Miniature Painting: A Catalogue of the Exhibition of the Sri Motichand Khajanchi Collection Held by the Lalit Kala Akademi. Exh. cat. New Delhi. cat. nos. 24a-g, figs. 32-33.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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