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

Ragini Patmanjari, from a Garland of Musical Modes (Ragamala) manuscript

18th century

Opaque watercolor on paper

Approx.: 17 1/2 × 11 3/4 in. (44.5 × 29.8 cm)
Gift of Lauder Greenway, B.A. 1925, Ph.D. 1930

These folios featuring images of ragas and raginis have verses inscribed on their reverse. Written in Braj Bhasa, a Western Hindi language spoken in central and northern India, the verses allude to the mood of each melody, without directly referring to it. The use of the Perso-Arabic script suggests that the painting may have been made in the environs of Delhi or Awadh, in northern India, where this script was more prevalent. In this example, spaces left between words are filled with the name of the sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707), written in red ink. While this element previously led scholars to believe that the album had been produced for the emperor, a more thorough examination of the painting style and the quality of the manuscript casts doubt on the possibility of an imperial patron. Moreover, the unsystematic application of the emperor’s name in the verses indicates that it may have been added later.

Awadh, India
On view
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)

Said to have been given by the Maharaja of Kishangarh to a British army officer for services in 1857; Imre Schwaiger (1868-1940), New Delhi, India; 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.