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Page from a Naishadha-carita of Shri Harsha Series

Asian Art

The Naishadhacharita is an epic poem recounting the romance between the hero, Nala, and his wife, Damayanti. This page may depict episodes from the story after Nala has lost his kingdom and must serve as charioteer to King Rituparna. The king is shown seated on a horsedrawn cart with two attendants (both proportionally smaller than the king to show his importance) and wearing a crown (here a symbol of ancient royalty, as contemporary kings would have worn turbans). The purplecloaked figure of Nala appears three times, narrating consecutive episodes. This depiction of the passage of time on a single page is typical in Indian painting, but the use of a deep, open landscape setting is quite unusual.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Place Made: Punjab Hills, India
  • DATES ca. 1800-1825
    DIMENSIONS sheet: 11 5/8 x 15 5/8 in. (29.5 x 39.7 cm) image: 9 5/8 x 14 in. (24.4 x 35.6 cm)
    INSCRIPTIONS Verso, at top center, in black ink, in Devanagari script: 31.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
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