Asian Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Back Cover, Garland of Musical Modes (Ragamala) Manuscript

18th century

Embossed leather with gold paint

Gift of Lauder Greenway, B.A. 1925, Ph.D. 1930

This leather hardcover protected the folios from damage and encased them in a book format. The raised pattern of scalloped roundels echoes a geometric design found in Mughal architecture, often studded with semiprecious stones on marble walls. On the other hand, the floral motifs that interweave this pattern reflect nature’s bounty in the image of the paradisiacal garden of Islam. The glimmering gold paint adds to this spectacle, heightening the texture of the surface through a play of shadows. Structurally, this book cover departs from common Islamic bindings, which have a leather spine that runs along the board’s edge. Here, the spine looks like a smaller flap attached to the cover, which may have functioned as an encasing. Alternatively, the original binding was perhaps damaged at some point.

Awadh, India
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)

Said to have been given by the Maharaja of Kishangarh to a British army officer for services in 1857; with Imre Schwaiger (1868-1940), New Delhi, India, by 1938; sold in India to Lauder Greenway (1904–1981), New York, 1938; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1939

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.