Painting, music and poetry came together in the courts of northern India from the sixteenth century in the production of paintings known as ragamala (‘garland of ragas’). A raga is a musical phrase that evokes an emotional response in the listener, and is associated with a particular time of day, season and mood. ‘Male’ ragas were joined with ‘female’ raginis.
The Ragamala Miniature paintings were commissioned under the Mughal patronage in India and this art form flourished between the 15th and 18th century. In these paintings each raga is personified by a colour, mood, a verse describing a story of a hero and heroine (nayaka and nayika), it also elucidates the season and the time of day and night in which a particular raga is to be sung; and finally most paintings also demarcate the specific Hindu deities attached with the raga, like Bhairava or Bhairavi to Shiva, Sri to Devi etc. The paintings depict not just the Ragas, but also their wives, (raginis), their numerous sons (ragaputra) and daughters (ragaputri).
The Dulwich Picture Gallery offers an exquisite opportunity to view these miniatures through their current exhibition titled ‘Ragamala Paintings from India: Poetry, Passion, Song’. This exhibition will unveil a rare collection of 24 exquisite miniatures from the Claudio Moscatelli Collection, in a journey across the Indian subcontinent. It is the first show in the UK to focus exclusively on the Ragamala genre.
Purvaai is very proud to be associated with Dulwich Picture Gallery – our vibrant cushions are now available for purchase in their shop.
Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London, SE21 7AD Tel: 020 8693 5254