Raja Mandhata as a musical mode

Historical period(s)
ca. 1690
Nurpur school
Opaque watercolor on paper
H x W (image): 17.5 × 17.7 cm (6 7/8 × 7 in) H x W (sheet): 21.3 × 20.7 cm (8 3/8 × 8 1/8 in)
India, Himachal Pradesh state, Nurpur
Credit Line
Purchase from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Album folio with painting

bird, India, man, portrait, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection

Prior to 1960s
Mandi Royal Collection

From ca. 1980s
Unknown German dealer [1]

To 2003
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York [2]

From 2003 to 2017
Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York in March 2003 [3]

From 2017
Freer Gallery of Art, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [4]


[1] According to conversation with Catherine Glynn Benkaim from June 14, 2016, Ms. Benkaim mentioned that this folio and numerous others from the series were with a German dealer in the 1980s.

[2] Catherine Glynn Benkaim purchased this painting from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in March 2003.

[3] See note 2.

[4] See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Royal Mandi Collection
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim
Catherine Glynn Benkaim


The musical mode Himal is embodied as Raja Mandhata, this manuscript’s patron. Shown splendidly dressed and seated in a grove with two birds perched on his hand, the king is an emblem of refinement.

The painting’s superbly controlled line, luminous palette, and precisely calculated composition identify it as part of one of the greatest ragamala series. The vivid yellow background was produced with a pigment made from the urine of cows fed on mangos; the recipe for this color (peori) has been lost to history.

Published References
  • Ragamala Painting from India. Exh. cat. p. 33, fig. 10.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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