A night scene of Shiva puja (recto); Calligraphy (verso)

A night scene of Shiva puja (recto); Calligraphy (verso)

c. 1760-70

Part of a set. See all set records

Ahmad al-Husaini

attributed to Muhammad Rizavi Hindi

(Indian, active mid-1700s)

Opaque watercolor with gold on paper, wide borders of pink paper (recto); gold on blue paper, four lines of thuluth calligraphy (verso)

Page: 28.2 x 24.1 cm (11 1/8 x 9 1/2 in.)

Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.350

Fun Fact

The linga is a stylized phallic symbol denoting the creative capacities of Shiva.

Description

Hindu women had been prominent members of Mughal harems since the time of Akbar, whose chief queen was a Hindu princess from the kingdom of Amber (later renamed Jaipur) in present-day Rajasthan. Under golden stars and a crescent moon, this royal palace woman holds a flower garland to offer at a shrine to the Hindu god Shiva. The light of butter lamps casts a shadow behind her figure; experimentation with the depiction of shadows, typically absent in earlier Mughal painting, increased among artists during the 1700s.

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