South Asia, India, Mughal Empire, ca. 19th Century CE. A finely painted depiction of an attractive Regmala female, standing in profile and holding a musical instrument with two deer in the tranquil hilly landscape. At the apex of the hill sits Saadu. On the verso is a page of nastaliq calligraphy from the illuminated manuscript. Both have the same attractive border comprised of an inner border delineated in deep blue with a leafy vine motif delineated in gold leaf, followed by a wide red border. An inscription, perhaps a signature, is painted at the center of the upper border surrounding the painting of the Regmala female and Saadu. Finely painted on paper (either Bansaha from crushed bamboo, Tatha from jute, or Tulat from cotton) and matted. Size: 11.5" L x 8.25" W (29.2 cm x 21 cm); 14.875" L x 11.25" W (37.8 cm x 28.6 cm) with matte.
The artist presents the elegant woman dressed in luxurious costume, with diaphanous fabric over her chest, delineated in red and gold leaf. She is also bedecked in an elaborate jewelry ensemble comprised of a multi-strand beaded necklace, earrings, armbands, bracelets, as well as a lovely veil - all meticulously delineated with golden elements which make for a lovely contrast with her peachy complexion.
Mughal painting refers to a type of miniature painting - either serving as book illustrations or created as single work. The term miniature suggests a tiny scale; however, it actually indicates a style of watercolor work similar to early European book illustrations that used the red pigment minia. Some Indian miniatures are in fact quite large. The Mughal style stems from Persian miniature painting, though with Indian Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist influences, evolving largely throughout the Mughal Empire (16th to 19th centuries), and eventually spreading to other Indian courts - Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh - flourishing during the reigns of Akbar, Shah Jahan, and Jahangir. The tradition continues today with Mughal-style miniature paintings still being created, though by a relatively small number of artists in Rajasthan.
Provenance: ex-Palmyra Heritage Gallery, New York, New York, USA (November 24, 2019 - Lot 194); ex-Khan Family collection, New Jersey, USA, 1990s; ex-private Pakistan collection, 1970s
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Minor wear to borders. Imagery is strong. While painted on paper (either Bansaha from crushed bamboo, Tatha from jute, or Tulat from cotton), both pages are pasted to opposite sides of cardboard.