Ragamala: Vighasa Ragini

Accession Number

Ragamala: Vighasa Ragini

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Jaipur School

Object Creation Date
circa 1800

Medium & Support
ink and opaque watercolor on paper

13 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in (33.66 cm x 24.77 cm);13 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in (33.66 cm x 24.77 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel

Subject matter
Ragamala paintings draw from aspects of human experience in order to visualize specific moods, emotions, and qualities such as love, anguish, valor, weakness, and strength. A raga in Indian music is a melody consisting of a string of notes in a particular arrangement. Raginis are derivations from or variations of ragas in feminine mode (the basis of these classifications remains unexplained in many cases), and could have different or similar musical structures as ragas. Specific ragas are associated with specific times of the day, seasons, and emotions. When visualized, as here, ragas and raginis are meant to evoke the same affective responses that are allied to their musical modes. The text above the illustration refers to stories or incidents associated with the depicted raga/ ragini, but may not necessarily be narrative-like or descriptive. Drawn from literary tropes and tales that sophisticated writers and viewers would be aware of, the inscriptions are an integral part of the overall experience of this miniature painting. An illiterate viewer, however, could still enjoy the scene without reading the text.

In this image, the male lover drawing his arrow could represent two things. One, it could stand for the love between the man and woman. Or (and this is more probable here), the man could be aiming at the cock, harbinger of dawn, a common motif in Indian erotic paintings. The lover, not wishing to be disturbed by the arrival of the day, wants to chase the cock away. The cock is not represented, but alluded to, in this image. Ragmala paintings also find place within the Pahari and Deccani painting traditions of the Indian subcontinent.

Physical Description
One male and one female figure are seated on a low-rise bed, in an open terrace. The male draws his bow. A pavilion is represented in the background. It is nighttime. A short verse is painted above the depicted scene. The colors are bright.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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1 Related Resource

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

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