Vasanta Vilasa (a poem on Spring) (detail)


Historical period(s)
Pre-Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper mounted on cloth
Western Indian style
H x W: 1101.5 × 24.5 cm (433 11/16 × 9 5/8 in)
India, Gujarat
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent


illumination, India, Kama, poems, spring

To 1932
N. C. Mehta, Lucknow, India to 1932 [1]

From 1932
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from N. C. Mehta, Lucknow, India in 1932 [2]


[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note.

[2] See note 1. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

N. C. Mehta


This unique scroll, over thirty-six feet long, is filled with poems and illustrations celebrating springtime, when Kama, god of love, evokes passion in the hearts of all. In eighty-four verses, the poem employs lush verbal imagery to evoke the beauty of spring, and the paintings closely follow the text. The spirited poses and angular lines of the body, the pert faces with the stylized projecting eye, and the brilliant colors of the paintings are typical of Western Indian painting in the pre-Mughal period.

Published References
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 1, pp. 13-14, 34,42.
  • Dr. Sherman Lee. A History of Far Eastern Art. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1964. pp. 24-27, figs. 9-10.
  • W. Norman Brown. The Vasanta Vilasa Manuscripts and their Interrelationships. vol. 77, no. 4, October-December 1957. pp. 257-65.
  • W. Norman Brown. The Vasanta Vilasa: A Poem of the Spring Festival of Old Gujarati. American Oriental Series, vol. 46 New Haven. .
  • Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. History of Indian and Indonesian Art. New York and London. pl. 81, fig. 257.
  • N. C. Mehta. Studies in Indian Painting: A Survey of Some New Material, Ranging from the Commencement of the VIIth Century to circa 1870 A.D. Bombay. p. 15 ff, pls. 6-7.
  • N. C. Mehta. Gujarati Painting in the 15th Century: A Further Essay on Vasanta Vilasa. London. .
  • H. I. Poleman. A Census of Indic Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. American oriental series, vol. 12 New Haven. cat. 5573, p. 278.
  • Kapila Vatsyayan. Dance in Indian Painting. New Delhi. pl. 11, fig. 84.
  • Ratan Parimoo. Gujarati School and Jaina Manuscript Paintings: N.C. Mehta Collection. India. pp. 176-203.
  • O. C. Gangoly. Vasanta Vilasa: A New Document. vol. 2, new ed. Berlin. .
  • N. C. Mehta. Indian Painting in the 15th Century. nos. 22-23 Delhi. pp. 61ff.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 3, pp. 46-7.
  • B.N. Goswamy. The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works, 1100-1900. Gurgaon, Haryana, India. pp. 413-415.
  • Pratapaditya Pal. "Collecting Old Art in Modern India circa 1875-1950." In Pursuit of the Past. India. p. 151, fig. 9.15.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum