Kakubha Ragini, Page from a Dispersed Ragamala Series
Indian Paintings of Musical Themes
The most prevalent form of classical music in northern India is the raga. A raga is not a composed piece of music but an established set of tonal, rhythmic, and expressive guidelines from which a musician creates an improvised performance. The guidelines are specific enough that a seasoned listener can recognize any particular raga if it is performed properly. There are many different ragas, and over the centuries they have been organized into categories, described as families, in which related musical themes—called raginis—are considered the wives of a raga, and still others—calledraga-putras—are considered the raga’s sons and daughters.
Each raga is associated with an emotional state and a time of the day and year. Poets imagined brief narratives to capture the feelings inspired by specific ragas—mostly involving the various stages of a romantic relationship—and connoisseurs later commissioned artists to illustrate the poems. These envisioned musical themes, gathered into manuscripts called Ragamalas (“Garlands of Ragas”), became some of the most popular subjects for miniature painting among the ruling elite of northern India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Although it is virtually identical in composition to the early seventeenth-century painting labeled Kamoda Ragini (79.187.1), this painting bearsan inscription that identifies it as Kakubha Ragini. It may be that the affiliation between subject and musical theme had changed in the 125 years since the earlier painting was made, or perhaps the subject varied from region to region (other Ragamala series from the kingdom of Bundi identify the woman carrying garlands as Kakubha, but the earlier painting was probably not made in Bundi). Then again, one of the inscriptions may have been added by someone who was confused about the appropriate title.
Opaque watercolor on paper
ca. 1727 (?)
sheet: 10 x 7 1/8 in. (25.4 x 18.1 cm)
image: 7 1/4 x 4 5/8 in. (18.4 x 11.7 cm) (show scale)
Recto, in upper border. In black ink, in Devanagari script: Kakumbha ragani 28.
Verso, in black ink, in Devanagari script: Samvat 1784 [A.D. 1727], on the fourth, in the bright half of the month Chaitra [March-April]. / Ragani Kaphi. (Trans. J. Bautze)
Brooklyn Museum Collection
This item is not on view
Indian. Kakubha Ragini, Page from a Dispersed Ragamala Series, ca. 1727 (?). Opaque watercolor on paper, sheet: 10 x 7 1/8 in. (25.4 x 18.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X623.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, X623.1_transp4577.jpg)
overall, X623.1_transp4577.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.