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A painting of Shiva seated on a lotus
A painting of Shiva seated on a lotus


A painting of Shiva seated on a lotus
India, Basohli, circa 1720
The ash-covered god seated cross-legged on a pink lotus, wearing a white and gold dhoti and marked with yellow sandalwood paste on his arms, neck and forehead, a silver crescent moon above his third eye and a golden vessel in his lap, adorned with beaded and pearl jewelry, all on a reddish-brown background with grass and flowers in the foreground, surrounded by red borders and numbered "26" by inscription on verso
Opaque pigments and gold on paper
5 7/8 x 6¼ in. (15 x 16 cm.), image
7 5/8 x 8 in. (19.3 x 20.2 cm.), folio
Private Collection, London, acquired at Bonhams London, 19 April 2007, lot 335

Lot Essay

The style, composition, and colour palette of the present work immediately evoke the famous dispersed Tantric Devi series from Basohli, dated circa 1660-70. The motif of a single figure seated on a lotus blossom with white and pink petals is clearly descended from this series; approximately half of the known folios depict Devi in a similar format. In folio 38 (see V. Dehejia, ed., Devi: The Great Goddess, 1999, p. 125, fig. 1), the artist has included a horizontal band of grass to delineate the water from which the lotus blossoms and the monochrome swath of land behind. The artist of the present work has similarly indicated the landscape but omitted the lotus stalk and water from which it should bloom.

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