A summer month, possibly Vaisakh, folio from a Barahmasa series

Historical period(s)
ca. 1750
Bundi or Kota school
Opaque watercolor on paper
H x W (overall): 28 × 17.8 cm (11 × 7 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Bundi or possibly Kota
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


India, landscape, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, summer, woman, yogini

To 1967
Nowlakah, Calcutta [1]

From 1967 to 2001
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), purchased from Nowlakah, Calcutta in December 1967 [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 Nowlakah, a dealer based in Calcutta, in December 1967, several years before Indian paintings were classified as antiquities by the Indian government, according to his personal records, as relayed by Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim


Barahmasa (the song of twelve months) songs relating to the twelve months, a genre popular over all of north India. It is a way of describing the passage of time in relation to personal feelings, typ. the agony of separation felt by women through the seasonal cycle of a year. Originally a folk genre. Then literary. Then visual in 17th and 18th century. Barah masas might have 4, 6, 8 or 12 months.
Aditya Behl translates it as "The Suffering of the Twelve Months" because it is about Viraha. Love's Subtle Magic: An Indian Islamic Literary Tradition, 1379-1545, p. 105.

For more, see Charlotte Vaudeville, Barahmasa in Indian Literature, 1986.

The yellow garb of the women in the hut indicate that they are (idealized) yoginis. yogini and her companions take shelter from the heat in a hut by the side of a lotus pond and fountain. Lush trees surround them. The interior of the hut is yellow and the ladies are dressed in yellow. A dry, parched landscape full of tree stumps and four hunters is behind them.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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