On a quiet afternoon, a lady-in-waiting gently steals away from court. She is newly appointed in the service of the queen and, despite having been handpicked for her beauty and installed in the finest quarters reserved for the queen’s ladies, She is yet to feel at home. In the background, the marble walls of the palace glimmer in the mid-afternoon sun. The major part of the canvas is preoccupied by the deep blue of the waters, in which she wades as she amuses herself by plucking the fresh lotus blooms. There is no lotus that blooms like our subject or compares to the beauty and vulnerability of a woman’s youth as she wades knee-deep in water, completely absorbed by the lotuses at hand.
Long, winged eyes beneath a handsomely arched brow. Strings of pearls framing her face, interlaced with curly wisps of black hair. The roseate complexion of her body sets off the scarlet bodice and the saffron-coloured lehenga she is wearing, all of which is revealed rather than concealed by the gossamer scarf across her head and shoulders. Note the sharp curve of her waist and the fine bone-structure of her wrists and fingers. Her beauty is matchless and, given her choice of pastime, her mind a seat of great simplicity and innocence.
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.
She is portrayed here 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. Her face is delicate and refined. Her eyebrows are curved like a bow. Her face is framed in cleverly arranged curls of ebony hair. Her neck is decorated with necklaces of pearls and precious stones. She has draped herself in a transparent gold-embroidered wrap whcih 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?
In the background can be buildings, built in styles reminiscent of ancient Rajput architecture.
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