Panchama Ragini: Folio from a ragamala series (Garland of Musical Modes)
India (Rajasthan, Bikaner)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
7 3/4 x 4 7/8 in. (19.7 x 12.4 cm)
Purchase, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, in honor of Mahrukh Tarapor, 1996
This painting gives visual form to the popular Panchama ragini musical composition, which expresses entertainment, happiness, and love. Here, the ruler reaches out to pay the two musicians. His lover is described in a later ragamala text as “[s]o ravishingly beautiful . . . that she even carries the hearts of women . . . [and] is immersed in the color and joy of melodies.” Many Bikaner artists of this period trained at Mughal workshops before seeking employment at the Rajput courts, as witnessed in the figure types depicted here; however, the allusion to a mood engendered by music reflects the taste of the Rajput courts.