Hindola Raga

Hindola Raga

c. 1790-1800

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper

Image: 20.5 x 15.3 cm (8 1/16 x 6 in.); with mat: 35.5 x 25.4 cm (14 x 10 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1975.9



The word hindola means swing in Sanskrit, and the term raga indicates that this painting is from a set in which each work depicts a scene intended to evoke a particular mood. Raga can also refer to the key or mode in which music is performed. Throughout India, paintings of Hindola Raga feature a hero or lovers on a swing gently pushed by maidens. This poetic trope elicits the fever and desire of young love associated with the season of springtime. The saturated yellow ground, the red frame of the swing, and the trees bursting with blossoms underscore the ardent mood of Hindola Raga. In this painting the lovers on the swing are shown specifically as the blue-skinned Hindu god Krishna and his lover, the cowherd maiden Radha. The artist has transposed the emotion of Hindola Raga onto the life of Krishna, thereby making the viewer more palpably feel the intensity of the relationship between Krishna and Radha, viewed by many followers of devotional Hinduism as the ideal devotee.

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