Shiva and Parvati on a tiger skin: Anakūl Nayaka folio from a Rasamanjari

Close to the image are two thin black lines framing the image. Against a red background, on the left, Shiva walks with Parvati past a large tree. On the right, the couple lie down on a tiger skin. Yellow border.

Maker(s)
Artist: Attributed to Golu, son of Devidasa
Historical period(s)
ca. 1710 - ca. 1715
School
Nurpur school
Medium
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (painting): 16.9 × 27.3 cm (6 5/8 × 10 3/4 in) H x W (overall): 21.3 × 31.7 cm (8 3/8 × 12 1/2 in)
Geography
India, Himachal Pradesh state, Nurpur
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2018.1.13
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
India, Parvati, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, Shiva, tiger
Provenance

Collection of the Raja of Lambragaon, Himachal Pradesh, India.

To 1967
Sona Gallery, New York, New York. [1]

From 1967 to 2001
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Sona Gallery in New York City in June, 1967. [2]

From 2001 to 2018
Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, by inheritance from Ralph Benkaim in 2001. [3]

From 2018
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim. [4]

Notes:

[1] Ralph Benkaim purchased the painting in 1967 from Sona Gallery in New York City, several years before Indian paintings were classified as antiquities by the Indian government, according to his personal records via Catherine Glynn Benkaim. Sona Gallery did not produce a publication.

[2] See note 1.

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

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Sona Gallery American
Raja of Lambagraon
Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim

Description

Close to the image are two thin black lines framing the image. Against a red background, on the left, Shiva walks with Parvati past a large tree. On the right, the couple lie down on a tiger skin. Yellow border.

Inscription(s)

Verso: takri number 1; in takri “anakūla=favorable, compatible, agreeable”

Verse accompanying this illustration: "Apprehensive of discomfort to his sweetheart, Lord Shiva holds Parvati-who is languid with excessive love-to left portion of his body; he extends his right foot forward on uneven ground; plucks a flower from the tree with his right hand, and sleeps to the right on the bed covered with a deer-skin."

Label

Invoking the blessings of Shiva, this is the opening page of the Rasamanjari series of c. 1710-15, which was painted at the workshop of Golu, an artist of Nurpur, in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The Rasamanjari (Bouquet of Rasa) is a poetic classification of lovers (nayakas and nayikas) and love situations. Composed ca. 1500 by Maithili Brahmin Bhanudatta, probably in Ahmednagar, Deccan, its Sanskrit verses had a significant impact on Hindu court painting and the development of the Hindi literary tradition (ritikal). 

Shiva is personified here as the anakūl nayaka or the lover devoted solely to his beloved, here, his wife Parvati. Bhanudatta's verse relates the tender actions of a smitten lover: 

"He [Shiva] looks at the uneven ground, first hesitates, [then] extends his foot. Roaming about in the forest, he plucks wild flowers with his raised right hand. Relaxed in the comfort of his bed [covered with] a tiger's pelt, he presses his beloved to his body's side. In this manner Shiva fully enjoys the pleasure and causes Parvati's side to gracefully tremble." 

The divine couple appears twice in the painting, once standing near a large tree picking flowers and again lying down on a tiger skin. Concerned and caring, Shiva takes on himself whatever involves effort and fatigue. He puts his right step forward to check the uneven ground for Parvati and sleeps with the weight of his body to the right.

Published References
  • Masters of Indian Painting. Exh. cat. Zurich. vol. II, p. 455, fig. 11.
  • Roopa-Lekha. vol. XXXVI, New Delhi. p. 7.
  • J. LeRoy Davidson. Art of the Indian Subcontinent from Los Angeles Collections. Exh. cat. Los Angeles. cat. 114, p. 86, no. 130.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
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