Private Collection, USA
Krishna is seated on a golden throne extending his hand to a woman beside him who is massaging or shampooing his arm. Another woman waves a chowrie, while a third kneeling off the carpet is preparing the unguents for the massage. A flask and a candle are positioned beside her. The scene takes place on a terrace covered with a polychrome carpet with a trellis pattern with stylized flowers inside each cartouche. A pavilion and high wall closes the back, while above the night sky is full of stars.
A lord having his arm massaged is the iconography of Bhairava raga, but the lord in question is normally Shiva (e.g. Ebeling 1973, figs. 187, 191), although other variants are possible for this raga. A loving couple with a flame or light can turn the scene into Dipak raga, but it is not possible to say how much weight to accord to the candle here. For another polychrome trellis carpet from Jaipur in a painting of Shri raga, see Bautze 1987, no. 46. An earlier Jaipur representation of this scene with a prince rather than Krishna as the subject of the massage is in the British Museum (Ahluwalia 2008, fig 47).
Bautze, J., Indian Miniature Paintings, c. 1590-c.1850, Galerie Saundarya Lahari, Amsterdam, 1987
Ebeling, K., Ragamala Painting, Ravi Kumar, Basel, 1973
EXPERT : J. P. Losty
J. P. Losty was for many years curator of Indian visual materials in the British Library in London and has published many books and articles on painting in India from the 12th to the 19th centuries.
Artiana would like to thank J. P. Losty for his expertise and assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.