Raga Nand Malahar, from a Ragamala

Historical period(s)
ca. 1720
School
Mewar school
Medium
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (painting): 21.6 × 16.2 cm (8 1/2 × 6 3/8 in) H x W (overall): 24.8 × 19.7 cm (9 3/4 × 7 3/4 in)
Geography
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
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2018.1.75
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
garden, India, pool, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, Shiva, woman
Provenance

To 1990
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York [1]

From 1990 to 2018
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), and Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York in March 1990 [2]

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

Notes:

[1] According to information from Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

[2] See note 1.

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

Previous Owner(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim

Label

This dreamlike painting captures the magical mood of the monsoon and the bhava (emotion) of raga Nand Malhar. At the top, a strip of watery clouds above a wine-dark sky conveys the season of the monsoon (malhar). Beneath the clouds, on a terrace surrounded by lushly flowering trees, three celestial women with multi-colored wings worship a shivalingam. The scene seems suspended in time. Only the clouds, the pond, and the hands of two of the celestial beings, appear to move. On the left, the water in the pond ripples as the bathing nymph (apsara) takes a handful to splash her face. At center, the apsara delicately reaches forward to adorn the lingam with a petal that she has just plucked from a lotus.
The domed shrine, covered in the dazzling white stucco characteristic of the royal architecture of Udaipur, includes a golden stele (or plaque) that represents Shiva's wife, the goddess Parvati; immediately outside the shrine, a golden icon of Nandi, Shiva's faithful mount, is in his characteristic position of facing his lord.

The painting can be identified as the fairly obscure raga Nand Malhar because of its similarity to a Kotah painting in the collection of Isabella and Vicky Ducrot, which is inscribed as Raga Nand Malhar. The Ducrot imagery includes a Shiva linga with an icon of Parvati to its left, peris with large wings, and dark monsoon clouds.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
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