Indian and Himalayan Art
Gouda Mallar Ragini: Tribal Women in the Forest
Artist/maker unknown, India
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
1994-148-528Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994
Against a solid blue background with a high, curved horizon, one woman holds a string instrument (vina) while another grasps a peacock-feather fan. Their dark (blue) complexions and thick silver anklets identify these women as members of one of the central Indian tribes, groups thought to be descended from India's original inhabitants. The women stand atop a stylized hill in a dense forest. Two peacocks shriek from tall trees, whose symmetry and balloon-like shapes are emblematic of Malwa painting. Although the mood of gouda mallar ragini is usually the tender longing of unrequited love, the inscription on the back of this picture expresses a more hopeful note:
She carries sprouts in her sproutlike hands, knowing her beloved is coming. Drawing the string of her bowlike brow, her eyes outsparkle the god of love.
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