Bani Thani (An Indian Mona Lisa?)

Bani Thani (An Indian Mona Lisa?)

$85
Item Code: BF90
Specifications:
Batik Painting On Cotton
2.3 ft x 3.6 ft
Handmade
Handmade
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fully insured
Fully insured
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fair trade
Fair trade
This portrait is painted in the typical style of the Kishangarh school of Indian miniature painting. Kishangarh itself is a small town in Rajasthan, approx. one hundred kms. from Jaipur.

The lady in this portrait is Bani Thani, and has an interesting story behind her:

King Sawant Singh (1748-1764), the seventh ruler of Kishangarh, was an accomplished poet and artist in his own right. It so transpired that his stepmother employed a young girl as a singer in her palace. She came to the notice of Sawant Singh who fell in love with her. Her real name is not known, but she came to be called Bani Thani, which means smart and well-dressed. She was a beautiful girl who also professed interest in Hindi poetry. She became Sawant Singh's mistress. It is conjectured that the bloom of her youth and beauty not only roused unholy thoughts in the hearts of men who saw her, but also provided inspiration to the Kishangarh artists to whom credit is given for the invention of the Kishangarh facial formula.

Bani Thani here is portrayed with an elongated face, arched eyebrows, lotus-like eyes tinged with pink, a sharp nose and a pointed chin. Obviously, it is an idealization, for no woman would have such eyes, here we notice a resemblance with the technique of the Kangra painters. It is not the beauty of a single person, but the ideal beauty which the artist paints. It is based on the ideal type given in the Sanskrit love poetry, viz. 'Padmakshi' or lotus-eyed. It represents the Rajput ideal of feminine beauty at its best. Those who delight in parallels call her the Indian Mona Lisa. Her face is delicate and refined, more like that of a courtesan. Her eyebrows are curved like a bow. Her neck is decorated with necklaces of pearls and precious stones. She has draped herself in a transparent wrap which greatly enhances her charm. Which woman of today would not envy her dreamy eyes, her shapely nose, her fastidious lips, the glamour of her clothes and ornaments, and, above all, her seductive charm?


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