Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 12:06 AM
The heroine of this painting represents the type who braves a fierce night storm in order to keep her rendezvous with her lover (abhisarika). Steadfast in her determination and quest, the heroine is heedless of the danger of the raging storm's lightning and blinding rain. She ignores the cobras slithering by her feet as well as the loss of gold ornaments in her haste. Indeed, her ardor burns like an ascetic's penanc9 In the Rasikapriya, Kesavadas tells of the wives of the goblins of the forest commonly represented in paintings of this type but oddly absent here who ask the heroine, "Whence have you learnt this yoga? Oh Abhisarika, how marvellous this trysting!". The imagery of the impetuous heroine in theft storm was the most popular of all the nayikas to be portrayed in the painting of the Panjab Hills. It is conceptually related to the theme of Sohni braving the river's raging currents to meet her lover Mahinwal.
A mixture of styles is present in this painting. The figure follows Garhwal conventions and, in fact, is based on earlier Garhwal nayikas from about 1770-8o. In contrast, the landscape and sky are more akin to Kulu pictorial traditions in their treatment and palette. This stylistic plurality apparently caused even a leading scholar of Pahari painting, Karl Khandalavala, to attribute it to an "unidentified" workshop. Pigment analysis and a technical examination support a date in the early nineteenth century for the painting, so the possibility of a modern stylistic pastiche can be ruled out.
The most likely solution to the question of the painting's origin, suggested by Roy Craven (personal communication) and followed here, is that it was executed by the well-known poet and painter of Garhwal, Mola Ram, whose literary skills are generally considered to have exceeded his pictorial ones. Indeed, certain details, such as the distinctive earring, exaggerated curve of the bangles, treatment of the storm clouds, and the lackluster draftsmanship of the figure, all accord with Mola Ram's known works.
Writer Name:- Pratapaditya Pal