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Dipaka Raga, Page from a Ragamala Series

Attributed to Mohammed (son of Nur)

Asian Art

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.

This painting depicts one of the most famous ragas, Dipaka, which means “oil lamp.” It is perhaps the most passionate and fiery of the ragas, designed to be performed at noon during the summer; it is said that when it is properly performed, it can start fires. The subject is a couple in the midst of a passionate tryst. This depiction at first seems relatively cool; however, if one looks closely, the flames of passion are imprinted on the man’s robe, and his turban ornament—usually a feather—is in fact ablaze.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
DATES ca. 1690–1700
DIMENSIONS sheet: 9 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. (25.1 x 19.4 cm) image: 6 1/2 x 4 15/16 in. (16.5 x 12.5 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Verso, in Sanskrit, in black ink, in Devanagari script: Dipaka
CREDIT LINE Gift of Charlene and S. Sanford Kornblum
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Attributed to Mohammed (son of Nur). Dipaka Raga, Page from a Ragamala Series, ca. 1690–1700. Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper, sheet: 9 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. (25.1 x 19.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charlene and S. Sanford Kornblum, 1991.77 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.77_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1991.77_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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