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Title A yogi seated on a tiger skin
Collection Artworld: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Date 1600-1699 CE
Description The yogi sits on an outstretched tiger skin at the base of the picture plain. Behind him is only a completely plain pale green background. This is slightly scratched beneath the tiger skin. The yogi's skin, rendered in white, is worn, particularly on the face and feet. The image is bordered by a band of red, wider at the top allowing for the black inscription.
Description Source Lorna Hards
Cultural Context Indian
Id Number Current Accession 801
Location Creation Site Bharat, Punjab Hills, Mandi
Location Current Repository Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Subject visual work, painting, miniature
Measurements 126 x 202 x 1 mm
Context In this Puhari miniature painting a yogi sits on a tiger skin with his left hand resting on a begging bowl made from a human skull. He is naked save for a loin-cloth, mostly concealed by his raised legs, which are supported by a band of cloth ('yogapatta') used by ascetics during meditation. A horn whistle hanging from his neck and crystal earrings show his membership of the Nath sect of yogis.
An inscription comprising two lines of 'takri' script written at the top of the glazed red border identifies the figure as Adinatha, the primordial being who is claimed as the sect's founder and is usually equated with the god Shiva. The inscription has not been fully read but is evidently a 'dhyana' (description for meditational purposes) and mentions such attributes as the crystal earrings and tiger skin.
The sensitive drawing of the head suggests that Adinatha is here modelled on a living person. However, this naturalism, like the pale green background, is characteristic of the Mughal style, which was a formative influence on early Mandi painting (see Glynn, 1983).
An important seat of the Nath yogis is at Jakhbar on the western periphery of the Punjab Hills, and the incumbent mahant in the 1660's was sufficiently influential to be the recipient of personal correspondence from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (Goswamy and Grewal, 1967: 32-3, 119-22).
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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