Saraswati, folio from a Goddess series

Artist: Attributed to Wajid (active late 17th century)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1680-1700
Sawar school
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 15.9 × 24.4 cm (6 1/4 × 9 5/8 in) H x W (overall): 18.7 × 26.7 cm (7 3/8 × 10 1/2 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Sawar
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, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, Saraswati

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, 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)

Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Benkaim
Catherine Glynn Benkaim


This otherworldly painting centers upon a pale goddess dressed in white who is seated on a pink-tipped white lotus that hovers in an indeterminate space. Two massive red poppy plants in full bloom and bud, ultimately based on European botanical drawings that were adopted by Mughal artists and from there by Mewar artists and from there by a painter in Sawar, flank the goddess. The background is a solid field of rich chocolate brown.

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

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