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A Prince listening to music, symbolizing a musical mode (Malava Ragaputra)
Place of Origin: India, Aurangabad, Maharashtra state
Date: approx. 1675-1680
Materials: Opaque watercolors on paper
Style or Ware: Deccani
Dimensions: H. 10 in x W. 7 3/4 in, H. 25 cm x W. 19.6 cm
Credit Line: Gift of George Hopper Fitch
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B84D12
On Display: No

Description

Label: Seated within a luxuriously decorated pavilion, a prince sprinkles himself with perfumed water while being fanned by an attendant and entertained by musicians. This painting belongs to a series known as a ragamala (garland of musical modes), which illustrated a musical classification system. The prince is the visual personification of a raga, or musical mode. The set to which this painting belonged followed a classification system established by the Hindu priest Mesakarna in a musical treatise of about 1570. His system is rarely represented in works, like this one, from the Deccan plateau region of southern India. Mesakarna describes this particular musical mode-which is compared to the sound of cooking food-as a princely figure. In many ragamala paintings there is no literal correspondence between visual imagery and the sound being represented. The striking use of pattern and the pink and mauve tones in this painting are characteristic of paintings from the northern part of the Deccan.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Dancing to the Flute", The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 6/12/1997 - 8/24/1997
Label: Seated within a luxuriously decorated pavilion, a prince sprinkles himself with perfumed water while being fanned by an attendant and entertained by musicians. This painting belongs to a series known as a ragamala (garland of musical modes), which illustrated a musical classification system. The prince is the visual personification of a raga, or musical mode. The set to which this painting belonged followed a classification system established by the Hindu priest Mesakarna in a musical treatise of about 1570. His system is rarely represented in works, like this one, from the Deccan plateau region of southern India. Mesakarna describes this particular musical mode-which is compared to the sound of cooking food-as a princely figure. In many ragamala paintings there is no literal correspondence between visual imagery and the sound being represented. The striking use of pattern and the pink and mauve tones in this painting are characteristic of paintings from the northern part of the Deccan.
Exhibition History: "Dancing to the Flute", The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 6/12/1997 - 8/24/1997