Page from an erotic manuscript

Man Massaging Woman, c. 1675

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

These two leaves are classic seventeenth-century Malwa school paintings, one of the earliest and historically most important Rajput schools. At Mandu, the capital of Malwa, miniature painting can be traced back to the fifteenth century, when it developed as a variant of the Jain style of western India. By the seventeenth century, however, this purely Malwa style had evolved. Simple geometric compositions predominate, and colors are bold and highly symbolic, while naturalism and volume are negated. Human figures are typically shown against red or green backgrounds, which dramatically flatten the pictorial surface, thereby lessening the sense of space. Ragamala paintings illustrate modes of classical Indian music, usually personifying characteristics of love or heroic behavior. These miniatures might illustrate the Ramkali Ragini ragamala but could also be based on a classic of erotic literature such as the Kamasutra.

Details
Title
Man Massaging Woman
Role
Artist
Accession Number
79.18.2
Curator Approved

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Page from an erotic manuscript