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Title A nobleman listening to music
Collection Artworld: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Date 1670-1699 CE
Description Rendered in relatively thick colour, this scene shows a nobleman, fanned by a servant with a peacock feather fan, listening to two musicians kneeling before him. The nobleman sits cross-legged on a throne, propped against a large gold cushion decorated with red flowers. (His right arm appears from behind the cushion). He wears sea-green trousers, a transparent robe, several long strings of pearls and a pearl and red stone earring. He has a red, green and gold turban. He points towards the musicians, playing a string instrument and cymbals. Their lime green and orange robes (respectively) fasten on the left. The musician on the left has the head of an animal with a long mussel, perhaps a dog. The servant (who has two left feet) and the nobleman are on a yellow carpet decorated with red and white flowers and scrolling foliage. Behind them hang a white and a blue drape. Behind the musicians is a thickly painted mauve wall.
Description Source Lorna Hards
Cultural Context Indian
Id Number Current Accession 541
Location Creation Site Bharat, Deccan, Aurangabad or South Rajasthan
Location Current Repository Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Subject visual work, painting, miniature
Measurements 170 x 161 x 1 mm
Context The nobleman sits on a low throne against a bolster and listens to a man playing the 'vina' and to a boar-headed 'kinnara' (a type of celestial musician), who beats a rhythm with small cymbals. The painter has misjudged the placing of the listener's right hand, which appears from behind the cushion. The attendant with the peacock-feather fan has also been provided with two left feet. The recital is shown taking place in a mauve-walled courtyard on the carpeted terrace of a white pavilion. The nobleman and his attendant each wear a white muslin 'jama' over coloured 'paijama'; the musicians are dressed in green and orange.
The painting is an illustration from a series of paintings ('Ragamala') depicting musical modes ('Ragas and Raginas'). This particular example depicts the mode 'Sri'. Seventeen paintings from this 'Ragamala' series were at one time fixed on walls in the palace of the Thikana (Estate) of Ghanerao in southwest Rajasthan. The first to be published was attributed by Moti Chandra to Mewar (Chandra, 1957: pl. 7), but although these paintings have a stylistic relationship with the Mewar school they were subsequently attributed to Bikaner (Ebeling, 1973: 177 nos. 27, 263, 270), Naguar (Welch and Beach, 1965: 119, no. 18, pl. 18; Pal. 1967:pls. Xviii, cat. 40, xli, cat. 88) and Ghanerao itself (Khandalavala et al, 1960: 58, no. 141, fig. 105). There has since been general agreement that they originated in Aurangabad in the Deccan, following the publication by Saryu Doshi of a 'Rasamanjari' manuscript made there for a Sisodia Rajput in 1650 (Doshi, 1972: 25-6). Although these paintings suggest the presence of Rajasthani artists working for Rajput officers serving in the Mughal campaigns in the Deccan, there seem to be some concessions to Deccani pictorial taste and to the social precedence of the Mughal nobility. Thus although the pictures conform to Hinndu 'Ragamala' iconography, the principal figures are rendered as Muslims, with their 'jamas' tied under the right armpit. In the present picture only the musicians are shown wearing their coats in the Hindu manner.
Context Source Robert Skelton. In: Steven Hooper (ed.). 1997. Catalogue to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. University of East Anglia.
Rights Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich, 2002. All Rights reserved
Work Type painting



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