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Nayika Awaits Her Lover, page from a series illustrating the Rasikapriya of Keshavadasa


Asian Art

This painting illustrates the Hindu text called the Rasikapriya, which describes the many stages of a romantic relationship using the love affair between the Hindu god Krishna and his beloved, Radha, as an example. Here, the romantic heroine (also known as a nayika) sits talking to her friend, presumably about Krishna, not knowing that he is standing behind her.

One of the interesting features of this painting is the canopy: it should probably be read as standing above their heads, but all four posts end behind the terrace. The arrangement defies logic, but ensures that the posts do not block our view of the main characters. Such spatial incongruities are relatively common in Indian painting, where illusion was less important than legibility and attractiveness.
ARTIST Ibrahim
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Place Made: Rajasthan, India
  • DATES 1692
    DIMENSIONS sheet: 9 1/2 x 6 1/4 in. (24.1 x 15.9 cm) image: 7 7/8 x 5 1/2 in. (20.0 x 14.0 cm)
    INSCRIPTIONS Verso, In Braj, in black ink, in Devanagari script: The work of Ibrahim. Samvat l749 [A.D. l692]. (Trans. V. Desai) The library stamp of the Maharaja of Bikaner.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
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