Friday, January 31, 2014

A Garland of Ragas

"This is an album (muraqqaʿ) compiled in the late 13th century AH / 19th CE, or possibly later. It contains nineteen Deccani paintings and four pages of shikastah calligraphy, one of which is dated 1211 AH / 1796 CE (f. The paintings, which date to the late 12th century AH / 18th CE or 13th century AH / 19th CE, come from a ragmala series attributable to the Deccan. A ragmala is a visualization of a musical mode or melody. This album contains a mix of visualizations of ragas (male musical modes) and raginis (female musical modes considered to be the wives of the male musical modes)." [Source: Walters Art Museum W. 669]

"Ragamala paintings are pages from a garland (mala) of visual melodies (ragas). Each page visualises a particular mode (five or more musical tones), and is frequently accompanied by a brief inscription or poem that suggests the time of day, season and even mood of the raga.
The transformation of expression from music, through poetry to painting was a gradual one, most likely stimulated by the invention of paper. Medieval musicians would associate each raga or mode with a deity and name it, perhaps as a means of memorising a melody. Intrigued poets of the late medieval period then personified these ragas and elaborated their tales in vivid verbal imagery. These stories along with other influential musical texts provided the poetic source for ragamala painting." [source: What is Ragamala?]


Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Sri Raga



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Todi ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Asavari ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Female performing a ritual at night with a full moon



west Indian manuscript miniature - a music visualisation with Persian calligraphy from Rajisthan
Shikastah^ calligraphy



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Khambhavati ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Megha raga



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Khambhavati ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Malavakausa raga 
(Malakausika, Malakausa, Malkos raga)



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Dipaka raga (Dipak)



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Bhairava raga
(possibly Vasanta ragini)



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Vasanta ragini (Vasant)



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
An Indian woman, holding a fan, at a pond



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Lalita ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation featuring killed white elephant with tusks removed
Karnata ragini (Kanada ragini)



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Hindola raga



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Malava ragini



Indian manuscript miniature - music visualisation
Nata ragini
(known in some sets as Sindhu ragini)


The writing surface of the album is 13.5cm x 21cm and features Persian as the primary language, written in the shikastah calligraphy script. There are 19 Indian Rajput-style miniatures together with borders of various colours, together with gold frames. The images above have been cropped back to the outer border and the colour saturation has been very mildly increased. The goatskin binding is not original and the manuscript came into the possession of Walters Art Museum from a bequest in the 1930s.

4 comments:

Tom R. Saxe said...

Not sure what is going on: "Khambhavati ragini" shows woman checking her iPhone!?!

Zeynab Khayyami said...

Hello. I see the pictures. they were wonderful.I'm from Iran.And I think they were Iranian according to the method of them.I have a blog about my country.I 'll be glad if you visit it.

C.A. said...

Hello.

Is there an e-mail address to which we could write to you regarding a project proposal on journalism?

Thank you very much.

peacay said...

Top right of the site is a who/contact area: click on 'peacay' and you'll then see the email addi among some self descriptive spiel. Essentially it's that gmail platform combined with the peacay name. Got it? OK!

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