Khambhavati Ragini:

Accession Number

Khambhavati Ragini:

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Jaipur School

Object Creation Date
circa 1800

Medium & Support
ink and color on paper

12 7/8 in x 9 3/4 in (32.7 cm x 24.7 cm);12 7/8 in x 9 3/4 in (32.7 cm x 24.7 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 lady prays to the Hindu God Brahma, with her hands folded. She makes an offering and asks for a boon. There are other versions of this ragini's depiction, some of which contain figures such as musicians. The Met's website says, "One early text thus explains the subject of this illustration to a musical mode: "Clad as the autumn moon, dazzling as the jasmine, Khambhabati's Vedic devotions and manifold service to Brahma find acceptance by the Four-headed [god]."" See:

Physical Description
A woman sits in front of a multi-headed God, on an open-air terrace. Her hands are folded in reverence. A pavilion is situated behind the figures. A short verse is painted above the depicted scene.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Named Gods and Goddesses

1 Related Resource

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

& Author Notes

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