Dipak Raga: Folio from a Ragamala Series (Garland of Musical Modes)

The Dipak Raga is associated with night and is meant to evoke the mood of intimacy between lovers. Legend has it that one of Emperor Akbar’s musicians started a palace fire after being forced to play this raga against his better judgment. Typically, depictions of this raga incorporate fire imagery of some sort; here, it takes the form of a pair of women holding lamps. No illusionistic space is shown and the figures are juxtaposed within a mapped architectural space as is typical of Malwa painting from the first half of the seventeenth century.

Ink and opaque watercolor on paper


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Metropolitan Museum of Art

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