Ragamala: Setmalar Ragini

Accession Number

Ragamala: Setmalar Ragini

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Jaipur School

Object Creation Date
circa 1800

Medium & Support
ink and opaque watercolor on paper

12 1/2 in x 9 in (31.8 cm x 22.9 cm);13 1/8 in x 9 3/4 in (33.4 cm x 24.8 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, a female ascetic listens to music from a veena (could also be a sitar or tambura; hard to say accurately). In some descriptions of this ragini the ascetic smears ashes on her body, and looks as beuaitful and splendid as a conch shell or the moon. She may or may not be holding a rosary, and remembers her lover in her heart. The tenor and mood are of separation from her loved one.

Physical Description
A blue-skinned female sits on an open-air terrace, behind her is a pavilion. Another female (?) figure is seated beside her, playing a stringed instrument, possibly the veena. A short verse is painted above the depicted scene.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Named Gods and Goddesses
musical instruments

1 Related Resource

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

& Author Notes

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