Attributed to Payag (Indian, active ca. 1591–1658)
Illustrated album leaf
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H. 7 1/4 in. (18.5 cm)
W. 10 3/8 in. (26.5 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2011
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
In this painting attributed to the Mughal artist Payag, a demonic form of the Hindu goddess Bhairavi, female counterpart to Shiva, sits on the body of a decomposing corpse. Wearing jewelry and a skirt made of skulls, and horns in the form of spear heads, she is accompanied by Shiva who appears in the form of a devotee. Three of her hands carry symbols of destruction, while her fourth extends a gesture of blessing. The borders, executed in gold monochrome, form a continuation of the desolate landscape in the painting itself. The inscription above the image, written in Devanagari script, identifies Bhairavi.
reportedly Mewar Royal Collection, India; [ Spink & Sons Ltd., London, ca. 1985–87; cat., 1987, no. 16, sold to Welch]; Stuart Cary Welch, Cambridge, MA (1987–d. 2008; his estate 2008–11); his estate sale, Sotheby's, London, May 31, 2011, no. 5, to MMA
"to be exhibited for sale by Spink and Sons Ltd.." In Indian Miniature Painting. London: Spink & Sons Ltd., 1987. no. 16, pp. 38-39.
Kossak, Steven M., ed. Indian Court Painting 16th–19th century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 23, p. 52, ill. (color).
Guy, John. Indian Art & Connoisseurship : Essays in Honour of Douglas Barrett, edited by John Guy and Deborah Swallow. Middletown, NJ: Grantha Corp in Assoc. with Mapin Pub. Pvt. Ltd., 1995. p. 293, ill. pl. 19 (color), Article: Welch, SC. "The two worlds of Payag - Further Evidence on a Mughal artist". pp.320–41.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. p. 17.