Painting of "Todi Ragini" - ROM2009_10848_24


Painting of "Todi Ragini"

Medium:opaque watercolour on paper
Geography: Pahari or Jammu region, India
Date: circa 1750
Object number: 2009.10.24
Credit Line: Charles Green Collection. This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust Fund. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestė par la Commission canadienne d’examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l’exportation et l’importation de biens culturels.
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 associated with a certain emotive state. The word raga comes from the Sanskrit root "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 of 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 Todi Ragini. Todi is one of the most important ragas of North India. In the Rajasthani tradition, she is always pictured as a beautiful woman holding a vina (stringed instrument) and standing in a green forest. In the Pahari tradition, she is represented as a woman at the spinning wheel trying to occupy her time while longing for her lover. Scholars suggest that Ragamala iconography changed as it spread to the Pahari region because artists there did not have intimate musical knowledge but rather made illustrations based on the literal meaning of words in inscriptions or titles associated with the paintings. Todi is performed in the late morning and represents the mood of delighted adoration in a gentle, loving sentiment.
South Asia
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