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Asian Art

Woman Grasping a Tree Branch

early 18th century

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

5 3/16 × 2 3/4 in. (13.2 × 7 cm)
framed: 11 5/16 × 8 3/8 in. (28.8 × 21.3 cm)
The Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, B.A. 1927, Collection, Gift of Mrs. John D. MacDonald
While this painting is a lovely rendering of a beautiful, well-dressed woman of high rank, it also evokes several Indian visual traditions. The woman stands near a lotus pond, a symbol of purity in Indic religious art. She grasps a branch of a nearby tree, an action often depicted in religious sculpture and a possible allusion to the belief that the mere touch of a beautiful woman can cause a tree to spontaneously blossom.
Indian, Islamic
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)

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

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.