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Folio from a Manuscript of the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva: Krishna and Radha in a Bower The Gitagovinda is among the most frequently illustrated of all the devotional texts sacred to Krishna. Although the majority of extant Gitagovinda illustrations hail from northern India, this particular example may have been made at Aurangabad in the Deccan as it is stylistically similar to a manuscript of the Rasamanjari (Posy of delights) bound with an unillustrated nayaka-nayika manuscript by the same scribe that has a colophon stating that the portion of the text with the Rasamanjari paintings was made there in t6so (Doshi).

Despite this seemingly incontrovertible evidence of that manuscript's origin, the two manuscripts and a related Ragamala set have proved to be one of the most controversial and often discussed stylistic groups within Indian painting, with suggested dates ranging from 1630 to 1700 and attributions including Aurangabad, Mewar, Ghanerao, Bikaner, and Nagaur (see Doshi; Topsfield 199oa; and Vatsyayan 1978). The controversy lies in the fact that there are a number of Rajasthani, specifically Mewar, stylistic features present in the thirty-one paintings of the now-dispersed Gitagovinda manuscript. Although there are minor variations within it, the Rajasthani-style aspects generally include the figural types especially the moustache, long sideburns, and ornaments of Krishna as well as certain landscape, architectural, and compositional conventions.

These stylistic anomalies can, however, be explained by the cosmopolitan nature of the court culture of Aurangabad during the period when the paintings were executed (Leach 1986, p. 15o). During the many years of Mughal-Deccani warfare in the seventeenth century, large numbers of Mughal and Rajasthani troops were quartered in the city and region. These troops were led by high-ranking Rajasthani nobles, including Mohan Singh of Mewar, who commissioned the Rasamanjari and nayaka-nayika manuscripts of 165o. Since several illuminated manuscripts • in the same style were made at Mewar immediately following 165o, it seems likely that Rajasthani artists accompanying their nobles to the Deccan were exposed to and influenced by Deccani styles.

Writer Name:- Pratapaditya Pal
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