A PAINTING FROM A RASIKAPRIYA SERIES: RADHA'S SAKHI CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO KRISHNA
A PAINTING FROM A RASIKAPRIYA SERIES: RADHA'S SAKHI CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO KRISHNA
A PAINTING FROM A RASIKAPRIYA SERIES: RADHA'S SAKHI CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO KRISHNA
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A PAINTING FROM A RASIKAPRIYA SERIES: RADHA'S SAKHI CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO KRISHNA

INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, KANGRA, ATTRUBUTED TO PURKHU, CIRCA 1820

Details
A PAINTING FROM A RASIKAPRIYA SERIES: RADHA'S SAKHI CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO KRISHNA
INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, KANGRA, ATTRUBUTED TO PURKHU, CIRCA 1820
image 9 7/8 x 6 5/8 in. (25.1 x 16.8 cm.)
folio 12 5/8 x 8 5/8 in. (32.1 x 21.9 cm.)
Provenance
Mandi Royal Collection.
Property from a Private English Collection; Christie's London, June 26 2020, lot 30.

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Lot Essay

Keshavdas, a Brahmin in Bundelkhand, was the court poet of Raja Madhukar Shah of Orchha. He wrote his famous love poem Rasikapriya in 1591 AD. The Rasikapriya seems to have been a favorite with Kangra patrons. Several nayaka - nayika paintings from Kangra depicting Krishna and Radha, the ideal lovers, are based on and inscribed with the texts of the Rasikapriya. The style of painting and the colors employed by Kangra artists for these depictions of love and longing manage to convincingly convey the richness and sweetness inherent in the lyrical texts of Keshavdas.
Though the series was completed by many artists working under Purkhu’s direction, the quality of painting in the present work allows for the attribution of Purkhu himself as the artist here. The scene depicts a sakhi delivering a message from Radha to Krishna, who is elegantly seated on his terrace throne. As described on the verso, she pleads with him to stop involving himself with other women:
Having loved her, why is it that you are involved with other women? Do not confuse brass with gold. Even if Saraswati teaches a crow, it cannot sing as sweetly as a cuckoo. Those who like a mango cannot be satisfied with a tamarind. Do desist from your misdemeanors. 12.29
The now dispersed Kangra Rasikapriya series from which this painting originates is a large series speculated to have included as many as 200 folios. Several artists from the workshop of Purkhu, including the master artist himself, contributed to paintings in the set. There are now fourteen paintings from the Kangra Rasikapriya in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (acc. nos. IM.74-1912, I.M.156-1914, I.M.157-1914, and I.S.43-1949 through I.S. 52-1949) and two paintings in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (acc. nos. 1965-26-1 and 1965-26-2). Other illustrations from this series have sold at Bonhams New York on 19 March 2012, lot 1186, 14 March 2016, lot 107 and 16 March 2021, lot 338; at Sotheby's New York, 20 March 2013, lots 311, 315 and 318; and at Christie's London, 25 May 2017, lots 74-78, 2 May 2019, lots 92, 93 and 95, and 26 June 2020, lots 9, 28, 30, and 67-69. Most recently a painting from this series sold at Christie's New York, 22 March 2023, lot 371 for $37,800.

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