Girls Spraying Each Other at Holi

The antics of Holi, the festival of spring, are in full tilt in this scene that takes place in the women’s quarters of a palace. Most of the women have already been stained with the red and yellow colors that they squirt and smear on one another to the beat of handheld drums and a lively song. In a composition repeated from an imperial Mughal scene, one woman aggressively and playfully has another in a headlock and pours red liquid down her blouse. The princely state of Bikaner had close ties with the Mughal court, and some of its artists were familiar with Mughal painting, as is evident in the rendering of the garden and the figures. The sandstone cascade at the top of the page propels water through the garden channels.

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper


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Cleveland Museum of Art

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