A Nayika And Her Lover: Page From A Dispersed Rasamanjari Series (Blossom Cluster Of Delight)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1972.74
People
Unknown Artist
Title
A Nayika and Her Lover: Page from a Dispersed Rasamanjari Series (Blossom Cluster of Delight)
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1660-1670
Places
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Kashmir, Basohli
Culture
Indian
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Opaque watercolor, gold, and beetle-wing cases on paper
Technique
Painted
Dimensions
actual: 23.4 x 33 cm (9 3/16 x 13 in.)
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
Accession Year
1972
Object Number
1972.74
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Label Text: India: From Tribe to Court, written 1981
A Nayika and her lover from a Rasamanjari series.
India, Panjab Hills, Basohli, ca. 1680
Gift – John Kenneth Galbraith 1972.74 [draft]

Label Text: Pavilions of Love: A Ritual Space in Indian Painting, written 2007
Nayika and Her Lover
Folio from a Rasamanjari series India, Basohli, c. 1660
Opaque watercolor on paper with beetle-wing case
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

The sixteenth-century Sanskrit Rasamanjari (Cluster of Blossoms) classifies nayak as and nayik as (male and female lovers) by temperament and emotional states or situations. In this painting the ideal lover Krishna enters the pavilion of his long-suffering and beloved Radha. This painting is typical of the early Basohli style, which was unparalleled in capturing religious passion through the use of intense color and bold, well-delineated shapes . Basohli painting, with few outside influences, had an important impact on the painting of some other states in the Punjab Hills. The use of beetle wings to decorate the jewelry of Krishna and Radha is diagnostic of the Basohli school.

Label Text: The Sensuous and the Sublime, written 2001
A Nayika and Her Lover
Folio from a Rasamanjari (Blossom-Cluster of Delight) series
India, Punjab Hills, Basohli, c. 1660-70
Opaque watercolor, gold, and beetle-wing case on paper
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

The Rasamanjari, written by the fourteenth-century poet Bhanudatta, is one of the best-known works of the Sanskrit genre that categorizes and describes various types of romantic heroes (nayaka) and heroines (nayika) according to their age, personalities, and circumstances. The beautiful and brilliantly colored folio presented here illustrates Guru Mana, or the "intense pride of the nayika," and is identified by an inscription in takri script at the top margin. After a night spent with another woman, the nayaka (visualized in this series as the amorous god Krishna) sheepishly approaches the nayika/Radha with a strand of pearls in his hand, the gift of a guilty lover. The nayika sits on the floor, angry and dejected, having detected evidence of his dalliance. Bhanudatta describes this situation: "Seeing her beloved's forehead red with the color of the paint from another woman's feet, the radiance of the corners of the eyes of the sweet-eyed nayika made the pearls in her ears red as rubies."

Label Text: Indian Miniatures From the Plains and the Hills, written 1979
1. A NAYIKA AND HER LOVER from a Rasamanjari Series
Punjab Hills, Basohli; ca. 1660-70
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith - 1972.74

The Rasamanjari, a fourteenth-century Sanskrit text on love, was a favorite subject of the early Basohli artists. Krishna and Radha have been substituted for the traditional lovers, expressing in their passion the ideals of supreme religious devotion. Basohli was an early center of Rajput painting in the hills. Its distinctive style included the use of glowing colors, rich detail, and emerald green beetle wings for its jewelry.

Label Text: Paintings for Emperors, Rajs, and Sultans, written 1987
A Nayika (Heroine) and her Lover
From a Rasmanjari series
Rajput, Punjab Hills, Basohli, ca. 1680
Opaque watercolor on paper
The Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

Label Text: Rasika, the Discerning Connoisseur: Indian Paintings from the John Kenneth Galbraith Collection, written 1998
A Nayika and her Lover: page from a dispersed Rasamanjari series (Blossom-cluster of Delight)
Attributed to the Master of the Early Rasamanjari series
Punjab Hills, Basohli, ca. 1660-70
Opaque watercolor, gold, and beetle-wing case on paper
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

Few paintings equal the intense beauty and emotional vitality of those commissioned by the seventeenth-century rulers of Basohli, a small kingdom in the Punjab Hills region. The Basohli artists' use of large, flat, expanses of brilliant, pure, color accentuated with subtle details--such as the use of iridescent beetle-wing cases to suggest emeralds--finds parallel in paintings from Jammu, Nurpur, Guler, and a few other hill kingdoms.
The Rasamanjari of Bhanudatta, written in the fourteenth century, was one of the best-known works to describe the nayika-nayika system of classification. This painting is one of eighty folios to survive from a set that originally contained approximately one-hundred thirty-five leaves. In Basohli Rasamanjari illustrations, the role of the nayaka is clearly given to the divine Lord Krishna. He approaches the nayika/Radha with a strand of emeralds in hand, the gift of a guilt-ridden lover. She sits on the floor, angry and dejected, avoiding Krishna's gaze. Radha had detected evidence of his dalliance with another woman: the residue of her makeup still lingers on his cheek, or perhaps the nayika notices the trace of crescent-shaped nail marks on his body.

Label Text: Hot as Curry - Subtle as Moonlight: Masterpieces of Rajput Painting, written 1991
A Nayaka and her Lover
From a Rasamanjari series
Basohli Punjab Hills, ca. 1680
Opaque watercolor, gold, silver, and beetle wing on paper
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

Label Text: Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks - Revisited: Northern Indian Miniatures from two Traditions, Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries, written 1990
A Nayika and her Lover
From a Rasamanjari series
Punjab Hills, Basohli, ca. 1680
Opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

Label Text: From India's Hills and Plains: Rajput Painting from the Punjab and Rajasthan, 17th through 19th Centuries, written 1993
A Nayika and Her Lover
From a Rasamanjari series
Punjab Hills, Basohli, ca. 1680
Opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
1972.74

Publication History

Stuart Cary Welch and Milo Cleveland Beach, Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks Northern Indian Painting from Two Traditions, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1965), page 25/figure 21

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), page 93/figure 101

James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), page 148-149

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 1997-98 (Cambridge, MA, 1999), p. 33

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 104

Exhibition History

India: From Tribe to Court, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/01/1981 - 01/01/1981

The Arts of Krishna Bhakti, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/09/1983 - 05/01/1983

Out of the Hills: Miniature Painting from Himalayan India, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/26/1984 - 07/08/1984

Ambassador's Choice: The Galbraith Collection of Indian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/15/1986 - 04/06/1986

Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks - Revisited: Northern Indian Miniatures from two Traditions, Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/31/1990 - 06/10/1990

Hot as Curry - Subtle as Moonlight: Masterpieces of Rajput Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/02/1991 - 12/20/1991

From India's Hills and Plains: Rajput Painting from the Punjab and Rajasthan, 17th through 19th Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/1993 - 10/31/1993

Rasika, the Discerning Connoisseur: Indian Paintings from the John Kenneth Galbraith Collection, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/1998 - 04/05/1998

The Sensuous and the Sublime, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/07/2001 - 12/30/2001

Pavilions of Love: A Ritual Space in Indian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/10/2007 - 09/23/2007

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted