Nata Ragini, Page from a Ragamala Series
In the fifteenth or sixteenth century, a new genre of painting developed that attempted to capture in imagery the moods of famous passages of classical music. The music, known as ragas or raginis, inspired artists to create little scenarios—happy or sad, fierce or quiet, taking place in the daytime or nighttime, the summer or winter—that were illustrated over and over again.
The Nata musical theme is always depicted with warriors fighting. The hero, in a sumptuous golden coat and riding a fine (but strangely small) steed, easily overcomes his unmounted opponents, one of whom he has already decapitated. One of the most striking features of this painting is the highly dynamic treatment of the rocks in the background and foreground, which create a lively frame for the action. The convention of depicting rocks as swelling purple forms was borrowed by Indian artists from Persian paintings, but here the rocks are more stylized and more repetitive than one would see in Persian art.
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
12 3/8 x 8 7/8in. (31.4 x 22.5cm)
Other: 9 3/4 x 6 3/8 in. (24.8 x 16.2 cm)
Other: 12 3/8 x 8 7/8in. (31.4 x 22.5cm)
Other: 14 1/4 x 19 1/4in. (36.2 x 48.9cm) (show scale)
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Indian. Nata Ragini, Page from a Ragamala Series, ca. 1675. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 12 3/8 x 8 7/8in. (31.4 x 22.5cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 84.201.5 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.201.5_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
overall, 84.201.5_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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