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.