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
Not on view
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.