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Paintings > Mughal > Flower Seller in Mina Bazar
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Flower Seller in Mina Bazar

Flower Seller in Mina Bazar

Flower Seller in Mina Bazar

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Watercolor on Paper
Artist Navneet Parikh

10.0" X 13.0"
Item Code:
MI45
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This colourful miniature, contained in a magnificent frame adorned with uniform flowering plant motifs rendered in gold against a deep golden background, portrays four women, two flower-sellers and other two, buyers. The actual scene has been set within an arched marble pavilion wrought with gold, obviously a shop, as it was during the Mughal India a shop's usual form. All Mughal forts, as the Delhi's Red Fort, and walled towns, as Shahjahanabad, had long bazaars with uniformly structured shops. Besides such bazaars, outer apartments of residential buildings were also used for commercial activities. As arched elevation and openings characterised all building patterns those days, shops in a regular bazaar, or otherwise, also had an arched front. This arched flower shop is thus reminiscent of not only the 17th-18th century bazaars and shops' architecture but also of the life-style those days. A section of the bazaar inside a fort was reserved for women, usually the veiled Muslim inmates of the harem. Males, other than the emperor himself, or at the most a princes, did not have access into it. Shops in these female bazaars were run only by ladies and most of the commodities sold were items of feminine use. Such bazaars were often named 'Meena bazaars'. A flower shop in medieval Mina bazaar had exceptional significance. In polygamous harem life responsibility to win the husband's favour in preference to his other wives lied with every one of his wives. Obviously, adorning herself apart, she was required to also adorn her chamber, and flowers were a great help. Flowers were as much in demand outside harems. People visiting a courtesan or a dancer's chamber, and vice verse a courtesan or dancer, seeking to adorn her chamber for attracting more rasikas - admirers, were always looking for good flowers. With flowers was paid homage at a shrine, accomplished a marriage, other ceremonies, and even a death rite.

For obtaining greater space the shop has been divided into various tiers. Flowers arranged in baskets have been hung with the ceiling. The space on both sides in between the baskets has been negotiated with bunches of garlands. Around the shop's mid-height have been created two platforms and a stand. On the stand have been displayed different sets of garlands having larger size; and, on the upper platform lay three golden pots with flowers in them, and on either side a circular flower-fan. Other flower-pots – larger in size and variously designed, have been arranged on the lower platform. Aligned to it is another stand with garlands of smaller size. With a huge mass of garlands around, shop's proprietor is seated on a simple but elegant carpet and is showing a garland to her buyers while her assistant, though their conversation has distracted her attention, is engaged in stringing flowers for preparing more garlands. She is seated on the subdued part of the floor with a heap of loose flowers in her front and two baskets adjacent to them for depositing the garlands that she prepared. The two buyers – in all probabilities, the maids of the royal harem, on the right being perhaps the senior one, are discussing the merit of the garland, which the shop's proprietor has shown, in context to the purpose for which they were buying it, or what they were ordered to bring. In her attempt to know what exactly the two buyers want the shop-keeper is listening to them with full attention. Elegantly bejewelled, all four women are attired in lehangas – petticoat-like long skirts, odhanis – an unstitched large sash-like upper coverings, and cholis – short blouses. Not exactly contrasting, the artist has used for each garment a different colour. As beautiful and delicate as flowers are the colourfully garbed young damsels. Sharpe-featured and brimming with vigour of youthfulness, theirs is the glow, whatever their rank – maids or mistresses.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.


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