Lot 2 (Islamic & Indian Art, 16th April 2021)
AN ILLUSTRATION FROM A KRISHNA LILA SERIES: THE NAYIKA BRINGING A TOKEN OF HER AFFECTION TO THE NAYAKA
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, marked as number 7 in the cusped yellow cartouche on the lower-right corner, the yellow epigraphic cartouche at the top filled with poetic love couplets of black ink Braj Bhasha dialect, the one at the bottom filled with an explanation of the above couplets in Rajasthani dialect, mounted on cardboard, glazed and framed, 26.8cm x 39cm excluding the frame.
This illustration follows the previous lot and comes from the same early 19th-century Rajasthani Krishna Lila series. It depicts the nayika standing outside Krishna's palace offering him a token of her affection, a lotus flower. This is a very iconic flower in Hinduism, representing spiritual enlightenment, growth, purity, and even birth. Here, the implied message could be that the love for her nayaka is making the heroine grow spiritually and purifying her soul.
Once again, the focal points of the composition are the two protagonists of the Lila, easily recognisable thanks to their haloes and to the subtle game of glances and gestures taking place in the scene. Although most of the composition is dedicated to the depiction of the setting, the tension between the two protagonists is undeniable and almost palpable. The palatial three-quarter view is typical of 18th and 19th-century Northern Indian paintings, aiming at increasing the architectural volumes in the composition, which used to be often reduced to flat horizontal strips in Rasikapriya series of the 16th and 17th centuries.
26.8cm x 39cm excluding the frame
Estimated at £1,500 - £2,000