Panchama Ragini: Page from a Ragamala Series (Garland of Musical Modes)

The patron here has inserted himself as a participant in the popular Panchama Ragini musical composition: he reaches out to pay the two musicians. The text of this ragini speaks of his contented happiness and love. A later ragamala text describes the protagonist’s lover in this episode as “so ravishingly beautiful . . . that she even carries the hearts of women . . . [and] is immersed in the color and joy of melodies.” Typical of ragamala paintings, this image gives form to a melody that conveys a specific mood. Many Bikaner artists at this time came from Mughal workshops, and while this work’s musical theme remains distinctly Rajput, the Mughal style is evident throughout, especially in the depiction of the human figure and the natural surroundings.

Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper


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Metropolitan Museum of Art

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