Ragamala series: Kanada Ragini 22

Accession Number

Ragamala series: Kanada Ragini 22

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 1/8 in x 22 1/8 in (46.04 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.

In this image, a young man, personified as Krishna, revels over the success of his elephant hunt. He has slain the creature, who lies below him. Beside him, two men--who could be bards--are lauding his achievements in praise. This depiction of the Kanada Ragini has a number of variations. This scene is also associated with the mythological story of Krishna killing Gajasura, the elephant demon. What is surprising here is that even though in certain texts the ragini is described as a female, here and in other representations it is visualized as a male victor.

Physical Description
The Hindu God Krishna, holding a sword and an elephant tusk, sits on an elevated surface. An elephant with its trunk cut off is shown below him. Two men appear to be paying deference to Krishna with their raised hands. It is nighttime and they seem to be in a forest/ field. 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

3 Related Resources

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Miniature Paintings Across Cultures 
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted