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Asian Art

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

18th century

Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper

7 1/2 × 6 1/8 in. (19 × 15.5 cm)
framed: 13 5/8 × 11 3/4 in. (34.6 × 29.8 cm)
The Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, B.A. 1927, Collection, Gift of Mrs. John D. MacDonald
Since music is fundamental to the Ragamala, most compositions contain an allusion to music in the form of instruments played by the figures. In this painting of Ragini Todi, a woman plays a stringed instrument called a veena, the end of which is shaped like the head of a peacock. Her female attendants stand at a distance; they play a pair of clash cymbals known as manjira and a bowed instrument, probably the sarangi. The joyous mood of the painting is reflected in the blossoming lotuses that skirt the lake in the foreground and the flowering plants and animals that sway to the rhythm of the music. The vibrant foliage situates the painting in early spring, when this musical mode is performed.
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)

Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, Boston, Mass. to 2001; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

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.