Ragamala series: Desakh Ragini 16

Accession Number

Ragamala series: Desakh Ragini 16

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Jaipur School

Object Creation Date
circa 1800

Medium & Support
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

13 1/4 in x 9 5/8 in (33.7 cm x 24.4 cm);18 5/16 in x 22 1/8 in (46.51 cm x 56.2 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.

The acrobats and entertainers stand for heroism and strength. The figures may very well be all females in male acrobats' clothing, as in other visualizations of this ragini.

Physical Description
Three male entertainers in an open field, during daytime. One holds two clubs in his hands, another is upside-down on a pole, and the third holds a white disc-like object. Their clothes lie beside them. A short verse is painted above the depicted scene.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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