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    Sale 2271

    Indian and South East Asian Art: Including Highlights from the Star Collection

    20 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1339

    A painting of a princess observing fireworks in the Moonlight

    INDIA, OUDH, MUGHAL PERIOD, C. 1775

    Price Realised  

    A painting of a princess observing fireworks in the Moonlight
    India, Oudh, Mughal Period, c. 1775
    A princess wearing gold brocade pajamas beneath a pink angarkha with yellow choli, reclining against a yellow-and-gold bolster on a low bed and holding a wine flask, with musicians seated at her feet, a handful of attendants to the side holding sparklers and further attendants behind, low tables with more flasks and two candelabras near the marble balustrade in the foreground, all under an evening sky of diaphanous clouds pierced by the gold full moon, surrounded by orange and maroon floral borders
    Opaque pigments and gold on wasli
    14¾ x 11¾ in.


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    In the late 18th century, Lucknow in Oudh became an urban center whose inhabitants devoted themselves to the enjoyment of the visual and performing arts. Painters refined the Mughal style and created seductively decorative scenes of luxurious pleasures. Among the best Lucknow paintings are refined, extremely detailed night scenes such as this. This scene may be of Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights, or Shab-i Barat, the Muslim festival which also celebrates the new year. Both are enjoyed with firecrackers and illuminations. For a contemporaneous painting with similar treatment of the shower of sparks, see L.Y. Leach, Indian Miniature Paintings and Drawings, 1986, p. 138-139, cat. no. 46.

    Provenance

    Doris Wiener Gallery, New York, 1994


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Collection of Charles W. Banta


    Literature

    P. Pal et al., Dancing to the Flute: Music and Dance in Indian Art, 1997, p. 276-277, cat. no. 177


    Exhibited

    Dancing to the Flute: Music and Dance in Indian Art, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 12 June - 24 August 1997