Painting of "Megha Raga" as Krishna dancing and playing his flute with maidens - ROM2010_11287_10


Painting of "Megha Raga" as Krishna dancing and playing his flute with maidens

Medium:Opaque watercolour on paper
Geography: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Date: 19th century
38 x 27.1 cm
Object number: 923.4.81
Credit Line: No Credit Line
Not on view
DescriptionThe genre of Ragamala paintings flourished in western India, the Deccan, and the Pahari region during the 16th to 19th centuries. Ragamala painting is a confluence of three artistic forms: music, poetry, and painting. They are illustrations of poetic verses composed to go along with codified modes of classical Indian music. Ragamala paintings correspond to modes of classical Indian music called "Ragas". A Raga can be loosely translated as a melody, cluster of notes, or tonal framework for composition and improvisation that evokes a particular musical idea and is oot "ranga", meaning ‘colour’ and is said to be “that which tinges the mind with colour”. Mala means ‘necklace’ or ‘garland’. Thus Ragamala refers to a set or garland of musical modes. Applied to visual art, the term refers to the set oassociated with a certain emotive state. The word raga comes from the Sanskrit rf paintings of which this painting would have originally been a part. In the evolution of Indian music, Ragas became associated with certain Hindu deities who were understood to ‘descend’ into the music during a particularly inspired performance. To address the deified form, prayer formulas (dhyanas) were devised and passed from teacher to student. In the 15th -16th centuries, with the resurgence of popular Hinduism commonly referred to as The Bhakti Movement, poets and preachers captured the hearts of people with songs and poems extolling the human characteristics of the divine. Poets composed verses to go along with Ragas that described deities in various situations, especially devotional, romantic, or heroic contexts. These poems, often inscribed on the back or front of the works themselves, serve as the basis of the visual imagery in Ragamala painting. This particular painting is the Megha Ragai. Megha means ‘rain cloud’ and Megha Raga celebrates the arrival of the rainy season that breaks the heat. It usually depicts a joyous Krishna dancing and playing his flute among maidens in a natural setting. Yet in this work he is placed on a terrace in a courtly setting, typical of the 19th century Jaipur School style. In Hindu mythology, Krishna is known as one of the manifestations (avatars) of the Hindu God Vishnu, the God of Preservation. He is usually depicted with dark blue skin and can be identified by a peacock feather in his crown. Note that while the sky above is blue, the area directly behind Krishna shows a darkened sky in anticipation of the coming rain.
South Asia
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