India, Rajasthan, Jodhpur
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; 13 5/8 x 10 5/8 in. (34.6 x 27 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2002 (2002.38)
Maharaja Bijay Singh is shown nestling with one of his wives in the midst of his harem listening to a musical performance. Several of the women, intoxicated by the performance, have begun to dance, and two others frolic in the forest beyond the marble terrace.
The painting is beautifully rendered and the colors particularly rich, with hot reds, oranges, and yellows offset by cooler lavenders, pinks, and greens. Perhaps the most unusual elements are the sumptuous textiles, not only the gorgeous costumes but even more so the extraordinary rugs. Most distinctive is the large lavender-ground carpet with gold floral arabesques and red and pink leaves and flowers inhabited by multicolored parrots. A similar carpet but differently colored appears in another Marwar painting, probably by the same artist, in the Harvard University Museum Collections.