A forlorn lover, fragment from a Rasamanjari

Historical period(s)
ca. 1710
Movement
Nurpur school
Medium
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 16.9 × 12.1 cm (6 5/8 × 4 3/4 in)
Geography
India, Himachal Pradesh, Nurpur
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Collection
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection
Accession Number
S2018.1.14
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
India, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, woman
Provenance

To 1947
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947), Colombo, Sri Lanka, London, England, and Needham, Massachusetts. [1]

From 1947 to 1972
Rama Coomaraswamy (1929-2006), Greenwich, Connecticut, ownership transferred after the death of his father, Ananda Coomaraswamy. [2]

From 1972 to 2001
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Rama Coomaraswamy in May 1972. [3]

From 2001 to 2018
Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, by inheritance from Ralph Benkaim in 2001. [4]

From 2018
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim. [5]

Notes:

[1] According to information from Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See note 1.

[5] See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim
Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy 1877 - 1947
Rama Coomaraswamy 1929 - 2006

Label

This lotus-eyed woman with henna-tipped fingers is one of the 384 types of female lover described in the Rasamanjari (Bouquet of Rasa), a poetic classification of lovers (nayakas and nayikas) and love situations. Composed c. 1500 by Maithili Brahmin Bhanadutta, probably in Ahmednagar, Deccan, its Sanskrit verses had a huge impact on Hindu court painting and the development of the Hindi literary tradition (ritikal).

She appears to be an experienced nayika (heroine) waiting for her lover because she is fully adorned in jewelry, and sits topless by a bed. Bhanadutta describes such a nayika:

She put on all her jewelry,
Perfumed her thick head of hair,
And at her bedside had them place areca nut and betel leaf.
And the bedroom, when the woman
entered, her body all aglow,
was a darkened overcast day
set ablaze by golden ketaki flowers.

Published References
  • Art of the Indian Subcontinent from Los Angeles Collections. Exh. cat. Los A ngeles. 130, 86.
  • Stuart Cary Welch Mark Zebrowski. A Flower from Every Meadow: Indian Paintings from American Collections. Exh. cat. New York, Spring 1973. 130, 86.
  • Masters of Indian Painting. Exh. cat. Zurich. 9A, 455, 11.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum