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.