- Museum number
Album drawing. Pen and ink wash on paper. Rati rides on her bird vahana, which is formed by five intertwined female figures. The goddess stands on the bird and is on the verge of shooting her five arrows from the ikshukodanda, the string of which is made up of a row of bees. A sword and a buckler hang from her waist and a quiver from her shoulder. She wears a crown.
- Production date
Height: 22.80 centimetres (page)
Width: 19 centimetres (page)
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
1962,1231,0.12.19-22 refer to the mock fight between Manmatha and Rati during the celebration of the Vasantotsava (spring festival),in which the deities shoot flower tipped arrows at each other. This festival increased in importance from the fifteenth century onwards and is frequently depicted in both sculpture and painting of the Vijayanagara, Nayaka and, to a certain extent, Maratha periods. Manmatha and Rati are among the most important figures in the monumental sculpted columns of the Nayaka period temples in Tamil Nadu: they generally appear in the act of shooting their arrows at each other across an aisle.
This album of ninety-nine pen and ink wash drawings is unusual within the British Museum collection as a large proportion (seventy) of its drawings deal with the exploits of Kṛṣṇa. These can be grouped under three headings: the god as naughty child, adolescent hero and lover. The selection of episodes follows, by and large, the narrative of the Bhagavata Purana. A number of scenes, however, are inspired by the oral tradition of the Telugu-speaking area.
Of the remaining twenty-nine drawings, twenty-five illustrate a number of gods, goddesses, mythological incidents and tirthas (place of pilgrimage). The artist or the patron had an eye for unusual murtis: for instance, Vallabhi Vighneshvara (1962,1231,0.12.1), and the five-faced Hanuman (1962,1231,0.12.2) are relatively rare. The last four leaves of the album show architectural drawings, unusual in this type of work.
The artist responsible for this set demonstrates a remarkable control of his medium. His elegant, fluid line and the discreet shading with a pale wash are hallmarks of his style. The technique of indicating three dimensionality using shading may have been introduced by European artists. The majority of the paper is water marked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1826’, with the last ten sheets watermarked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1825’.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Transferred from the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books (OMPB) in 1962.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1168 (Egerton number)