Ragamala Series: Scene of a lady and her maid

Accession Number

Ragamala Series: Scene of a lady and her maid

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Jaipur School

Object Creation Date
circa 1800

Medium & Support
ink and opaque watercolor on paper

13 1/8 in x 9 3/4 in (33.4 cm x 24.7 cm);13 1/8 in x 9 3/4 in (33.4 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 scene, a lady enjoys conversation with her confidante/ attendant. In some representations of the Malisri ragini, these women could be shown holding hands as well. The flowers represent the lady's beauty and sweet smell. The lady could also be plucking petals, as her attendant brings news of her absent lover. See another representation from the V&A: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O433100/malasri-ragini-painting-unknown/

Physical Description
A lady and her attendant are present in an open-air terrace. They seem to be exchanging lotus flowers. Trees and bushes are placed around them, and it is day time. 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

2 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