Dipaka Raga, Page from a Ragamala Series
In the fifteenth or sixteenth century, a new genre of painting developed that attempted to capture in imagery the moods of famous passages of classical music. The music, known as ragas or raginis, inspired artists to create little scenarios—happy or sad, fierce or quiet, taking place in the daytime or nighttime, the summer or winter—that were illustrated over and over again.
This painting depicts one of the most famous ragas, Dipaka, which means “oil lamp.” It is perhaps the most passionate and fiery of the ragas, designed to be performed at noon during the summer; it is said that when it is properly performed, it can start fires. The subject is a couple in the midst of a passionate tryst. This depiction at first seems relatively cool; however, if one looks closely, the flames of passion are imprinted on the man’s robe, and his turban ornament—usually a feather—is in fact ablaze.
Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
sheet: 9 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. (25.1 x 19.4 cm)
image: 6 1/2 x 4 15/16 in. (16.5 x 12.5 cm) (show scale)
Verso, in Sanskrit, in black ink, in Devanagari script: Dipaka
This item is not on view
Gift of Charlene and S. Sanford Kornblum
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Mohammed (son of Nur). Dipaka Raga, Page from a Ragamala Series, ca. 1690-1700. Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper, sheet: 9 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. (25.1 x 19.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charlene and S. Sanford Kornblum, 1991.77 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.77_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
overall, 1991.77_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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