Setmalar Ragini: Folio from a ragamala series (Garland of Musical Modes)
India (Madhya Pradesh, Malwa)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
13 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. (33.7 x 24.8 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1918
This ragini evokes the rainy season and is given dramatic expression by the bands of heavy clouds and snakelike bolts of lightning across the upper register. The associated text by Lachiman Das tells of a woman, who, stricken by separation from her husband, has dressed as a man and taken up asceticism: “[She] has rubbed ash on her body . . .[and] remembers, in her heart, [her] husband . . . [as she sits] in the courtyard of the hermitage. The dark clouds appeared from the four directions, followed by the birds and brilliant lightning.” The juxtaposition of flattened forms and color fields, which are typical of the Malwa painting style that flourished outside the Mughal sphere of influence, gives this work a forceful presence.