Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Exhibition - State Library of Victoria

The Youth and the Singing Girl

From a leaf from a disbound manuscript of Jami, Baharistan (Garden of Spring), copied for Mughal Emperor Akbar, dated year 39, Ilahi era (1595 AD), Lahore. Painting by Madhu.
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Elliott 254, fol 35v
This folio is from a magnificent Mughal copy of a 15th-century Persian classic that was prepared for Emperor Akbar at Lahore and represents the high point of Mughal luxury manuscript production of its era.
The Baharistan (Garden of spring) is divided into eight chapters, one devoted to love. In it, a young man hears a girl singing on the terrace of her master’s house and falls in love with her. Despite the mutuality of their ardour, he renounces his love in favour of chastity.
Exquisitely painted, the image conveys the poignancy of the moment of falling in love and the lush detail of the scented garden in which it occurs.

The exhibition Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond (9 March–1 July 2012) celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts and the stories of human and divine love told through their pages from the early 11th century on.
Many of the manuscripts on show have been loaned from the world-renowned collection of the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; other exhibits are rare works from the State Library of Victoria and other Australian collections.

The Dervish and the King

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

 The Dulwich Picture Gallery on the outskirts of London, is showing an exhibition of Ragamala paintings.
Check the website for details.
Bhairava Raga-Pahari, ca 1690.
Bhairavi Ragini of Bhairava Raga, Hyderabad, ca 1760.
Kakubha Ragini of Megha Raga, Hyderabad, ca 1760.
Lalita Ragaputra of Bhairava Raga, Pahari, Chamba ca 1690-1700.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gajendra Moksha

Shri Vishnu Saving the Elephant Gajendra, Pahari region, Guler, circa 1760.

Gajendra was the king of elephants. One hot day, he was cooling off in a lake when a crocodile attacked him, and he could not free himself. Gajendra prayed to the god Shri Vishnu to save him. When Lord Vishnu appeared, Gajendra offered Him a lotus bloom. Shri Vishnu overcame the crocodile and saved His devotee.
In his previous Gajendra was Indrayumna, a great king and devotee of Vishnu. Indradyumna once failed to receive the sage Agastya with due respect. The enraged Agastya cursed the king to become an elephant in his next birth, as he sat heavy on his seat and did not rise to greet him.
The crocodile in its last life was a king called HuHu in the Gandharva planet. Once while enjoying himself in the waters, he pulled the leg of a sage. The enraged sage cursed the king to become a crocodile in his next life. The repentant HuHu asked for pardon. The Sage proclaimed that though he could not retrieve the curse, the crocodile would be liberated from the cycle of birth and death when Gajendra would be saved by the Lord God Himself.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Mughal Dynasty

Deccan, mid 17th century.
A portrait of three generations of the Mughal Dynasty. Timur in a blue tunic flanked by Akbar in green and Humayun in red with a gold overcoat.