Nata Ragina: Folio from a ragamala series (Garland of Musical Modes)
(active early 18th century)
India (Rajasthan, Bikaner)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
6 x 4 3/4 in. (15.2 x 12.1 cm)
Gift of The Kronos Collections, 1980
Within the ragamala tradition the association of music, text, and image is not always obvious. In this instance, in accord with visualizing music in a heroic mode, a male figure is described in the text as “[g]ripping his sword [as] he moves about the field of battle.” Yet this text also refers to a ragini, making the musical mode feminine, and hence the protagonist should presumably be a woman. While there are examples of this scene with a woman dressed as a warrior, more often, as we see here, it is a male figure. Such contradictions are common within the ragamala genre.