A Court Beauty

Chokha Indian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 692

This remarkably bold painting of a courtesan from Udaipur is a witty visual play on the blinds used to shield balconies and interior spaces from the blistering rays of the Indian sun. Large in scale, it echoes in size the actual blinds and cusped arch framing devices of Rajput palace architecture. The painting was likely produced at the request of Maharaja Bhim Singh (r. 1778–1828), presumably to display in a room or balcony given over to receiving his courtesans. The young woman stretches her hands above her head in a gesture of longing; her large lotus-shaped eye, which draws on the Kishangarh style of portraiture, adds to her overt appeal. A child, presumably one of the maharaja’s many progeny, pulls at her shirt for attention. The painting is inscribed phutadya (“a beauty”).

A Court Beauty, Chokha (Indian, active 1799–ca. 1826), Opaque watercolor, gold and tin on cotton cloth, India, Rajasthan, Udaipur

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.

Photo © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford