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Paintings > Hindu > The Lady with a Falcon: Ragini Gaudi
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The Lady with a Falcon: Ragini Gaudi

The Lady with a Falcon: Ragini Gaudi

The Lady with a Falcon: Ragini Gaudi

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Watercolor on Paper
Artist: Kailash Raj

6.5 inches X 9.0 inches
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The Lady with a Falcon: Ragini Gaudi

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Viewed 11471 times since 1st Sep, 2010
The imagery personifying Ragini Gaudi, the fifth consort of Shri Raga, is perhaps more confused than any other. In most of the Ragamala paintings the Ragini Gauri has been represented by a young beautiful woman carrying in one or in both hands stems or twigs set with fanciful flowers walking in a garden, meadow, forest or around a dale. In courtly transform of this imagery the venue of the scene is sometimes shifted to a palatial terrace or a palace courtyard, and garland of flowers, and far more strangely a cypress with the appearance of phallus, sometimes alternate the floral twigs. The lone figure of the forest-wanderer has in courtly transform a maid, or two, attending on her. From the forest’s roughness to courtly sophistication and splendour anything is seen comprising the part of this imagery manifesting Ragini Gaudi.

Another set of imagery representing Ragini Gaudi consists of the young damsel and an ass or two around her. This iconography seems to have developed out of the textual allusions that contend that the Ragini Gaudi was born out of the song of an ass. In this set of imagery the presence of the ass or asses is variedly portrayed. Sometimes a young woman with exceptional beauty is represented as feeding an ass reaching her. In another folio an ass, or two, are portrayed as braying finding a young beautiful woman before them. In yet another visualisation the lady seated in her chair caresses by her both hands two asses flanking her on either side. This ass-related imagery comprises both the palatial as well as forest setting.

Except when the Ragini Kukubha, represented by the figure of a young woman holding in her arms a peacock, or a parrot, is confused for Ragini Gaudi, the examples of which are often seen, the miniatures representing Ragini Gaudi by using the figure of a young lady with a falcon on her hand, as in this painting, are very rare, perhaps painted by an artist or two from hill states, especially Kangra. In his ‘Kangra Ragamala Paintings’ M. S. Randhawa has reported as Plate No. 57 (b/w) a representation of Ragini Gaudi, identical to this contemporary rendition of the theme, except that in this early Kangra miniature the young woman has been painted with an attendant, and the terrace she is seated on lies close to a lake. Randhawa has identified the image of the falcon-holding maiden as the representation of Ragini Gaudi. Obviously, the artist of this masterpiece has borrowed his imagery from the tradition of Pahari art and transformed it into the setting of Rajasthan’s court-art, its palatial architecture and paraphernalia.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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