Lot 10 (Islamic & Indian Art, 16th April 2021)
AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A KRISHNA LILA SERIES: THE NAYIKA AND HER LOVER FINALLY UNITED
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION
Jaipur, Rajasthan, North-Western India, ca. 1820 - 1840
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper, the horizontal composition depicting a scene from a Krishna Lila series, the cusped yellow cartouche on the lower-right corner left unmarked, the yellow epigraphic cartouche at the top filled with poetic love couplets of Braj Bhasha dialect in red and black ink, the one at the bottom left plain, mounted on cardboard, glazed and framed, 27.5cm x 39cm excluding the frame.
This illustration is the last one from the group of ten presented in this catalogue, each one belonging to the same early 19th-century Rajasthani Krishna Lila series. The reason why the yellow cartouches at the bottom of the composition have been left empty, when normally they would have been used for numbering and explaining the scene, escapes us. It seems plausible to suggest that this illustration must have been included towards the end of the series.
In this scene, the nayaka, Krishna, is portrayed on a terrace, flanked by his trustworthy sakhi. She is pointing at the white-clad and haloed nayika standing in the courtyard, looking adoringly at her lord. Krishna looks delighted, almost in disbelief. His attire is here more sumptuous and elegant than in any of the previous illustrations.
The atmosphere is solemn and the feeling conveyed by this illustration is of joy and peaceful delight, reaching a mature conclusion to the lovers' journey together. The choice of the white lehenga choli for the nayika is far from accidental. White is the colour of purity and of spiritual enlightenment; of peace and of spiritual rebirth. The reference here is subtle but clear. The unwavering love for the nayaka; the ordeals and the winding path the nayika went through in order to finally unite with her beloved; the moments of tension, pause, excitement and fear; and the deep trust placed in her sakhi: all of these were necessary steps in the path of purification and enlightenment of the nayika. As the story unfolds, the female heroine changes and transforms herself into a different woman, her love being both the fire that ignites her and the catalyst that triggers the process of evolution.
27.5cm x 39cm excluding the frame
Sold for £1,750
Includes Buyer's Premium