Indian classical music system based on ragas and Ragini’s or melodies is one of the most creative inventions. According to the classification of Mesakarna , a renowned musicologist of the early 16th century, there are 6 main ragas 30 raginis, and 48 ragaputras (sons). Each raga expresses or evokes a particular mood and is related to a specific season and time.
This is a pictorial depiction of Ragini Kakubha. Ragini Kakubha is the wife of Raga Megha. This melody conveys the mood of a dejected heroine who is been separated from her lover and is wandering in viraha in the jungle. A pair of peacocks give her company in her solitude. The plaintive cries of the peacocks enhance the pain of dejection and convey her status more effectively.
Ragamala of garland of melody depicts different moods, and ethos created by the musical notes of that particular Ragini. This is pictorially expressed in miniature paintings based on poetic expressions.
Set against a rocky landscape the painting here depicts Ragini Kakubha. The Ragini in the form of a beautiful maiden is sitting on a small hillock holding the Rudra veena. She is very lovingly feeding the charming peacocks with colourful plumes. A pond in the foreground is filled with lotuses and geese. In the background, a group of dears is very curiously peeping out from behind an architectural structure. A cluster of grayish clouds adds beauty to the whole painting.
Ragini Kakubha is the wife of Raga Megha. This melody conveys the mood of a dejected heroine who is been separated from her lover and is wondering in viraha in the jungle. A pair of peacock gives her company in her solitude. The plaintive dries of the peopcocks enhances the pain of dejection and conveys her status more effectively.
Ragamala of garland of melody depicts different moods, and ethos created by the musical notes of that particular ragini. This is pictorially expressed with the miniature paintings based on the poetic expressions.
Kakubha Ragini, a wife of Megha Raga, has the mood of a heroine deserted by her lover. Holding two lotus flower garlands, Kakubha wanders sadly in a grove with two peacocks, whose plaintive cries would have been understood as echoing her feelings of dejection.
Raga (Sanskrit, color or passion) is the term for a classical music mode, a set framework for improvisation. Having originated in the first millennium, ragas were systematized and classified during the thirteenth through sixteenth century, they were classified into ragamalas, meaning garlands of musical modes. A common system recognized six raga husbands, each "married" to five ragini wives for a total of thirty-six "families." Families of musical modes sometimes included sons or ragaputras as well. By the fifteenth century, ragas had become associated with specific moods, times, seasons, affective properties, deities, lovers, and heroes. Around 1590-1620, illustrated ragamala series became a favorite subject for Rajput patrons, as well as for some Mughals, such as Abdur Rahim, patron of the Freer Ramayana and the Laud Ragamala. Specific iconographies were developed for depicting each mode. These formulae lent themselves to variations, which were sometimes dependent on region.
Illustrated ragas evoke mood and engender feeling, as do musical compositions. But the connection seems to be indirect. Although some connoisseurs of music may have internally "heard" a composition when viewing its image, ragamalas were probably more broadly valued for their poetic and pictorial pleasures. The commission of a ragamala series would also have been understood as a sign of a patron's cultivated sensibility.
A gift of Sir Akbar Hydari .
Indian Miniature Paintings
Opaque water colour on paper
Mid 17th Century CE
15.5 x 9.5 cms