The instruments the four musicians are playing on represent three classes of them. Two of them are stringed instruments, one with a drum on its base as in sitar, and the other with artistically designed ends consisting purely of strings. One of the other two is a leather-mounted double drum producing sound with disciplined beats : India’s oldest and the most basic instrument - Mradanga, and the fourth, a sort of trumpet consisting of a flared bell and a long hollow pipe conducting sound waves to the bell to produce musical notes when blown. As suggests the seating postures of these figures : two, the trumpeter and one of the two lyrists, with heads turned to left while their figures twisted to right, comprise one part of the group, while the other two, the other lyrist and the drummer, with heads turned to right and figures twisted to left, form its other part. Their group-wise distinction has been further underlined in the style of the ornaments around their neck. The two of the musicians forming the former part are wearing a set of two necklaces, one consisting of large beads and another, a curved one closer to neck, while the latter, just a single consisting of larger beads, the same as those of the former part.
More than the anatomy or the physiognomy of the figures, or the precise dimensions of various parts, the artist seems to have been keen to portray the minds of the performers, their passion, enthusiasm or rather frenzy, the rise and fall of both, the pitch of the sound as also the state of mind, with which the forms of the musicians have twisted and curved. The figures’ plasticity is amazing. The forms seem to have melted and diffused and the outlines, flow with waving curves rendering standard dimensions of the physique irrelevant. In correspondence to the character of the formless notes that these musicians and their instruments produced : each note expanded and explored for revealing the underlying pith, the meaning and its every shade – the primary role of a Raga and classicism of Indian music, their figures : arms, fingers, legs, belly and breast, necks, faces and even skulls, all seem to disregard their normal dimensions. A crossed-legs posture of sitting, being extra large the legs seem to curve like a bowl, something like curving with one hundred twenty degree angles. The rest of the figure, right from the waist to the top, installed on this bowl-like structured sitting base, curves like a bow evidencing the release of energy which flows from the body and vibrates the instrument.
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.