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Lady meeting her lover from the Rasamanjari of Bhanudatta series

Accession Number

Lady meeting her lover from the Rasamanjari of Bhanudatta series


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
circa 1630

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

9 3/4 in x 7 1/2 in (24.77 cm x 19.05 cm);19 5/16 in x 14 5/16 in (49.05 cm x 36.35 cm);9 3/4 in x 7 1/2 in (24.77 cm x 19.05 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
March 28, 2009
The Rasamanjari, or “Bouquet of Delights,” is a collection of poems by the fifteenth-century poet Bhanudatta that explores, with keen psychological insight and occasional humor, a plethora of permutations in relationships between lovers. In this scene, a confident fellow attempts to persuade a shy young woman to join him in the boudoir. A flowering bush on the balcony subtly suggests that his wooing will be successful. With sly wit, the artist presents a parallel narrative on the ground level: one snake boldly approaches another that hides behind the stairs, but in this case the rigid palm tree between them hints that there may be barriers on the path to romance.
The use of color to evoke emotions and the division of the composition into multiple narrative registers are techniques drawn from a pre-Mughal tradition of Jain and Hindu painting in central and northwest India.
(South and Southeast Asia Gallery Rotation, Spring 2009)

Subject matter
According to the poem in the top register, this is a scene of two potential lovers meeting. The pair do not clasp hands or embrace, but the male appears to be forcibly grabbing the wrist of the woman. They are separated by an architectural structure: He remains in his room, seated on his bed, while she holds her hand up to her mouth, unsure and hesitant.
The fertile flowering bush behind the woman may suggest his romantic overtures will be successful.
The lower register shows a pair of snakes, one emerging for an analogous architectural canopy-like structure. Another snake, on the stairs above. is separated from the one below by what may be a palm tree, and two flowers on either side leaning slightly in opposite directions. It has been suggested that these snakes, in contrast to the man and woman above, will meet an obstacle in their pairing.

Physical Description
Brightly colored painting with three primary registers. The uppermost and smallest register contains a poem. The lower two are larger and similar in size. The bottommost depicts stairs, architectural structures, snakes, and flowering plants. Above, the middle register frames a seated man under a canopy-like architectural form, who reaches out to grasp the wrist of a woman. Behind her is a flowering tree, and and the far right, and open door.

Primary Object Classification
Unbound Work

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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calligraphy (process)
painting (coating)

5 Related Resources

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Visual Adaptations of Poetry
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Architectural representation
(Part of: Architecture and Buildings)

& Author Notes

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