Hindola Raga (Spring Swinging)
Page from a dispersed ragamala series (Garland of musical modes)
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Hindola raga embodies the ebullience of the monsoon season, a time when the Hindola (swing) festival is celebrated and spring rains bring new life to the earth. While it is typically depicted as the cowherd god Krishna being swung by the adoring women of the village, here a prince takes center stage. Rather than the flat backgrounds preferred by seventeenth-century Malwa painters, the monsoon clouds are created by a blending of heavy black and white paint. This, together with the women's three-quarter profiles, the use of pink and light blue, and the composition's visual depth, show that by the early eighteenth century some Malwa artists had fully utilized Mughal conventions. Nevertheless, the flat expanses of red, the rounded figures, the balloon-shaped trees, and the schematic architecture show that these artists remained conscious of their earlier, indigenous northern Indian aesthetic.