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Kakubha Ragini

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    early to mid 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Mr. John Goelet

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, illustration to the musical mode kakubha ragini. the painting shows a lady with peacocks standing in an undulating landscape. She looks over her left shoulder and holds a garland of white flowers in her left hand. She wears a beige-coloured gaghra ( skirt) decorated with a repeat pattern of pink floral sprigs and a band at the hem ornamented with a scroll of small white flowers between two red lines. A white gathered fall of diaphanous white fabric cascades down from the centre of a green waistband to a golden edged hem and is draped round the back and up over her head and right shoulder with the end clasped in her right hand which she holds across her chests wears a transparent cropped yellow choli with short sleeves and the seams and edges bound in red. She is bare-footed and her toes as well as her fingers are tipped in red. She is wearing a pearl choker and two other necklaces with jewels round her neck with two strings of longer pearls which fall between her breasts that are clearly evident beneath her odhani. She has jewelled armbands set with red and green rectangular gems and pairs of black and gold tassels, black bangles on her wrists and bracelets, finger and thumb rings together with rings on all of her toes. She has a hair ornament on her forehead, a pair of pearls in her left nostril, and a round, red earring with pearls round the rim and on the pendant.
A peacock stands in front of her on the right hand side, while a peahen stands a little way behind to the left. The recession of the landscape is indicated by a series of intersecting green bands scattered with flowering plants in the foreground, an almond tree in flower to the left and a clump of trees with green leaves to the right. In the distance there are other clumps of trees and a number of buildings. The horizon joins the sky nearly half way up the picture plane and is painted in a naturalistic manner with clouds and stylised flights of birds painted at the top. Two birds with long tails are outlined in purple in the middle distance.
The painting is mounted with a buff-coloured paper frame decorated with a stylised scrolling foliate pattern in gold. It has gold margins with white inner outlines and two further black ones and a blue outer one. The main border has an ivory-coloured ground with a row of alternate red poppies and pink lilies outlined in gold. The central petal of the lily hangs down. The outer edges of the page have blue strips of paper collaged onto them with two white outlines to match the page opposite. A strip of grey paper matching that on the opposite page ( IS.48:17/B-1956) has been added on the left hand edge of the page to act as a gutter for the present album binding.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


early to mid 18th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

the numeral '18' inscribed in pencil
top right hand corner of the main border


Height: 20.5 cm central painting, Width: 13 cm central painting, Height: 35.5 cm page, Width: 23.5 cm page

Object history note

This miniature painting is part of the Small Clive Album of Indian miniatures which is thought to have been given by Shuja ud-Daula, the Nawab of Avadh, to Lord Clive during his last visit to India in 1765-67. It contains 56 leaves on which are Mughal miniature paintings, drawing and flower studies on both sides. The binding is covered with an Indian brocade. The album was sold from Powis Castle at Sotheby's sale 16-18 January 1956, lot 332A.

Descriptive line

Painting, Small Clive Album p. 35, a lady holding a garland, with peacocks, kakubha ragini, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, early to mid 18th century


Opaque watercolour; Paint; Paper


Painting (image-making); Collage; Painted

Subjects depicted

Ragamala; A lady; Peacocks


Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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