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Paintings > Hindu > Ragini Seehuti
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Ragini Seehuti

Ragini Seehuti

Ragini Seehuti

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Watercolor on Paper
Artist: Kailash Raj

7.3 inches X 9.0 inches
Item Code:
HK20
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Viewed 4364 times since 30th Mar, 2010
This strange vision, a young lady caressing like a circus ring-master two lions flanking her on either side and the dreadful beasts children-like responding to her gesture with a smile on their faces, is a Ragamala folio representing Ragini Seehuti. As is its essence, a Ragamala painting seeks to personify the visual aspect of a Raga or Ragini which is broadly a concept of mind, or an abstract system, discipline or mode, to which a musical expression is subjected. This two-fold dimension is actually the inherent character of Indian music which – initially a component of drama and thus a tool of narration, has been long used for sending forth pictures wrapped in sound. Thus, Indian music is both, the vision and the abstraction. A Ragamala illustration, while personifying a Raga or a Ragini, aims at revealing such visual personality of the illustrated Raga.

Indian music has three major Raga-systems innovated by great legendary masters of the past, named Hanuman, Narad and Meskarana. The treatise of the eleventh century scholar of music Sarangadeva is also credited to have added some new dimensions to Raga-system. This folio, seeking to personify Ragini Seehuti, rendered using Kangra art idiom of Pahari art, in exact pursuance to the model of the famed Kangra Ragamala set of circa 1810 A. D., has been rendered, like all Pahari Ragamala sets, under Meskarana system, the ideal of all Pahari artists. Though the number of Ragas, Raginis and Ragaputras differ under different systems, this broad frame under which a Raga has a Ragini, one or more, and some Ragaputras, is common to them all. Under Meskarana system every Raga has five Raginis and eight Ragaputras and accordingly Seehuti is one of Malkaus’ five Raginis, the other four being Gunakali, Devagandhari, Gandhari and Dhanashri.

Raga Malkaus, one of the basic six Ragas under any system, has been visualised with a princely personality with regalia around. In one way or other, Malkaus’ all five Raginis incorporate this regal aspect into their beings and visual representations. Seehuti is a powerful Ragini capable of charging the entire ambience from one end to other but is cast into soft notes, rhythmically rising pitch and gentle tones. In its visualisation as a young tender woman having a pair of lions under her command such two-fold dimensions of Seehuti most appropriately reveal. While lions represent the power and regalia of the Ragini, the young tender lady, its soft notes, rhythmic rise of pitch and gentle tones.

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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