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

Raga Bhairava, from a Garland of Musical Modes (Ragamala) manuscript

18th century

Opaque watercolor on paper

approx.: 17 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. (44.5 x 29.8 cm)
Gift of Lauder Greenway, B.A. 1925, Ph.D. 1930
One of the eight forms of the Hindu god Shiva, Raga Bhairava inaugurates the series of musical modes. Bhairava is identified by his third eye, pale bluish-gray skin, the snake around his neck, and the garland of severed skulls that he wears. In this image, he and his consort are seated on a richly adorned bed. The couple is accompanied by two women who tend to their needs, one of whom mixes a paste of fragrant sandalwood, alerting the viewer to the sensory qualities of the image. The color of the sky creates a rich and intense atmosphere that indicates the time just before sunrise, when this raga is performed.
Mughal period (1526–1857)
On view
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.