Meditating ascetic, folio from a Book of Dreams

Historical period(s)
ca. 1720
Mewar school
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 19.7 × 17.5 cm (7 3/4 × 6 7/8 in) H x W (overall): 25.7 × 21.6 cm (10 1/8 × 8 1/2 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Mewar
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


ascetic, India, landscape, meditation, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection

Sale, London, Sotheby’s, Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, December 12, 1966, lot. 100: “A Sadhu outside his Hut” [1]

From 1966 to 2001
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased at auction, “Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures,” London, December 12, 1966, lot no. 100, “A Sadhu outside his Hut” [2]

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

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


[1] Ralph Benkaim purchased the painting from Sotheby’s London, December 1966, several years before the Indian government classified paintings as antiquities, according to his personal records, as relayed by Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim


According to this folio from a 'Book of Dreams,' a meditating ascetic in a lavender-tinged dawn landscape foretells health, prosperity, and happiness. Numbered 62 and classified as a shrestha (noble or excellent) omen, the folio belongs to a large dispersed series from Mewar related to the interpretation of dreams and omens. There must have been a special interest in dreams and omens at the Mewar court. Another complete 'Book of Dreams' is in the Government Museum of Udaipur.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum