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Title

Todi Ragini

late 18th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Ragni
    Woman holding a vina
    Place where the work was made
    North India India
    Period
    Late Mughal circa 1720 - 1857 → India
    Date
    late 18th century
    Media categories
    Miniature , Painting , Watercolour
    Materials used
    opaque watercolour with gold on paper
    Dimensions
    18.4 x 13.5 cm image; 20.0 x 14.9 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Bequest of Mr J. Kitto 1986
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    110.1986
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

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  • About

    'Divided from her darling,
    most unhappy in love,
    like a nun renouncing the world,
    this Todi abides in the grove and
    charms the hearts of the deers.'

    (Pal, 1978, 128, quoting Coomaraswamy)

    The lone lady, symbolic of love in separation or loss, is a leitmotif of ragamala paintings. Whether gathering flowers, wandering through the forest, or ruefully strumming a musical instrument, the lady yearns for her absent lover. One of the most easily recognisable and common images is that of the Todi ragini, where the lady holds a 'rudra vina' ('bin'), and is surrounded by deer. The physical attraction of bucks for human females has been used as a recurring sexual metaphor in Sanskrit poetry from antiquity. (Pal, 1978, 128) and significantly, in this image as most other Todi ragini, the lady faces the buck rather than the fawn. The musical raga is to be played in the first quarter of the day from sunrise; its expression tender and loving. It is believed that originally Todi was a song of village girls guarding the ripening fields against the deer who became so absorbed in listening, they would stop feeding (Ebeling, 1973, 60).

    The delicate drawing of this image, the fineness of detail focussed on the central figure, and the minimal background, is typical of late Mughal styles. Different texts on Todi ragini allude to the lady's limbs being tinged and perfumed with saffron and camphor.

    Jackie Menzies, 'Dancing to the flute - Music and dance in Indian art', AGNSW, 1997. pg. 300-302.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 7 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 7 publications