"Malwa"-miniatures from the Rajput court of Bundelkhand 1580 - 1850

“Orchha 1592“, not “Malwa 1634“ (Vol. I, pp. 12-18)

Scholars of Indian painting traditionally have classified the miniatures presented in these volumes as School of Malwa. Moreover, the founding series of the School has been dated 1634. Both assumptions are disastrously wrong. These two erroneous suppositions have prevented us from understanding not only that these paintings constitute the earliest of the Rajput Schools in the Mughal period but also that they represent the only School which in its founding period exhibits an Indian Kunstwollen - artistic vision - still free of Mughal influence.

The date of “1634“

Let us first deal with the date of 1634. This is found in a Rasikapriya manuscript whose illustrations are considered the basis of our School:

Kat. 1.1, Vol. I, p. 49
Radha's sakhi speaks to Krishna. From the "1634" Rasikapriya.

In the yellow text field of one of the pages, housed in the National Museum in New Delhi, a colophon dates the manuscript to 1634. Stylistically such a date seems absurd, given that the paintings are executed in a pre-Mughal style of the 16th century. No less absurd is the colophon itself, as Vishakha Desai had demonstrated already in 1984:

  • Firstly, the colophon is incomplete. It reads as follows: „Samvat 1690 Samaye Vaishaka Sudi 5 Guruo ….“ (in 1634, on Thursday, fifth day of the fifth month).
  • Second, the verses to which the colophon is attached are not from the Rasikapriya, but from the Kavipriya.
  • Third, and above all, the colophon follows verse 93 of Kavipriya, Chapter XV. That verse is not the last verse of chapter XV and therefore not an appropriate verse to find the closing phrase samaptamyiti, “this is the end“.
  • Fourth, as if all this were not enough, Chapter XV is the penultimate and not the final chapter of the Kavipriya.

Desai assumed that the Kavipriya verse and its colophon were added to an empty text field at a later date. This assumption is supported by the handwriting on this page which is different from the script on any other known page of the set (1).

It is time to dismiss this absurd colophon and date the Rasikapriya paintings according to their style which, as we will see, derives from the Chaurapanchasika style of the early 16th century. Keshavdas, the court poet of Orchha, presented the Rasikapriya to his patron, Rajkumar Indrajit, in the year 1591. It seems reasonable to regard our manuscript as the earliest illustrated manuscript of the poem and date it to around 1592-95.

“Malwa“ as home of the School?

The first miniatures of this School became known when, around 1910, Ananda Coomaraswamy, the great art philosopher, acquired in Old Delhi some 23 Ragamala paintings, of which 13 are now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He tentatively ascribed these paintings to “a School that flourished at Orchha and Datia“, basing his suggestion “on the general character of the architecture represented in these paintings and on the language of the inscribed poems“ (2). Twenty years later, in the 1930s and 1940s, when series after series of paintings appeared on the Indian art market which were stylistically related to the Boston Ragamala, Coomaraswamy’s ascription to Orchha and Datia seemed gloriously confirmed, for many of those paintings have on their verso a library stamp of the Datia Palace.

Art history then took a strange turn. Among those paintings which had come to light were two with a colophon that indicated the place of their production. The first of the two colophon paintings belonged to an Amarushataka series. This was discovered by the noted collector N.C. Mehta, who read the date of the colophon as Samvat 1709 (that is, 1652). As to the place name, he at first reported that the name was not decipherable (3), but later seems to have suggested that it might perhaps be read as “Nasrathgarh“. The second colophon painting came from a Ragamala series. The colophon stated that it was produced in 1680 (Samvat 1737) at Narsyang sahar (Narsyang town), which is probably another spelling for Narsingh sahar. Narsingh (Sanskrit: Narasimha) is the incarnation or avatar of Vishnu in his form as ManLion. It is in this form that Vishnu protects his devotees, and many towns were named Narsingh garh (Narsingh fortress) and Narsingh pur (Narsingh town) or, as in our case, Narsyang sahar. There is both a Narsinghgarh and a Narsinghpur in East Bundelkhand which, in 1680, was ruled by the Bundela Raja Chhatrasal. It might seem obvious to identify Narsyang sahar with one of those two Narsingh towns. However, in 1950, Karl Khandalavala, the eminence grise among the Indian art historians, identified Narsyang sahar with a Narsinghgarh in Northeast Malwa, which in 1681 – one year after the Ragamala series was finished - became the capital of a minor Rajput state. Even more boldly, he also identified the doubtful “Nasrathgarh“ of the 1652 Amarushataka with the Malwa Narsinghgarh (4).

With these ascriptions, a Malwa School was thus created. When in 1963 Anand Krishna wrote his book Malwa Painting, (5) he followed Khandalavala’s attributions and incorporated into the Malwa School the Boston Ragamala, which Coomaraswamy had discovered in 1910, as well as all the stylistically related paintings which since had come to light, among them the “1634“ Rasikapriya, the founding series of the School. He conceded that “these paintings were discovered in huge numbers from the Datia palace collection“ (6), but nevertheless ruled out Coomaraswamy’s attribution to Orchha and Datia because “survivals of wall paintings at Datia and Orchha show that a different school was practised there“ (7). Anand Krishna had in mind the remains of wall paintings in the Jahangir palace at Orchha and the Govind palace at Datia which both were built by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo (r. 1605-27). Those paintings, executed in a popular Mughal style, indeed have nothing to do with either Coomaraswamy’s Boston Ragamala or with the “1634“ Rasikapriya, which in fact is of about 1592-95. Had Krishna compared the wall paintings with miniatures painted for Bir Singh, however, he would have had no difficulty whatsoever in discovering similarities (8).

With Anand Krishna’s Malwa Painting of 1963, the final word about the Malwa School was spoken. A dissertation by Joseph Dye attempting to establish a chronology for 17th-century Malwa painting did follow in 1980, but, closely based on Krishna’s book, it was flawed from the outset by the author’s continued acceptance of the date of 1634 for the founding series of the School. After Dye’s dissertation, scholars abandonned the Malwa School, complaining of the chaotic dating the different series.

Yet Malwa as home of an important School of Hindu paintings seems no less absurd an assumption than the date of 1634 for the founding series of the School. For ever since 1563, when Akbar had conquered the former Sultanate, Malwa had been a Mughal province administered by a Mughal governor. For whom should all those thousands of miniatures with Hindu subjects have been painted? Anand Krishna had to assume that “roaming painters wandered from place to place and painted a number of traditional themes for wealthy patrons“ (9). With this assumption the School was downgraded to a “Zamindar“ School. However, is it really conceivable that often illiterate local landlords would have ordered one illustrated manuscript after another of the Rasikapriya – a work of poetics written by Keshavdas for rasikas, highly educated connoisseurs? Or that they were interested in Sanskrit kavya poetry like the Amarushataka (Vol. II, Cat. 32)? Moreover, can we imagine that manuscripts with 300 paintings like the First and the Third Rasikapriya (Vol. I, Cat. 1 and Cat. 5), or that masterworks like the Ramayana of around 1600 (Vol.I, Cat. 3), have been produced by “roaming painter families“ rather than by organised workshops of up to 10 artists working for a Rajput court and guided by a Pandit?

Fortunately, the paintings themselves tell us where they have been produced – both through the architecture represented in them, which mirrors the domes of the Orchha and Datia palaces (see Vol. I, p. 127), and through the Bundeli dialect of the inscriptions on the Ramayana of 1600 (see Vol. I, Cat. 3). The clearest clues as to where our paintings originated come from the founding series itself, the misdated “1634“ Rasikapriya. At the beginning of his poem, Keshavdas sings the praises of Orchha and pays homage to his patron, Rajkumar Indrajit Singh of Orchha. These introductory verses are illustrated with two pictures: one representing Orchha on the Betwa river (Vol. I, p. 16), the other showing Indrajit Singh on a lotus throne, receiving the homage of the poet10). These illustrations are peculiar to Rasikapriya manuscripts from Orchha alone; they are never found in any of the Rasikapriya manuscripts from Rajasthani or Pahari courts. Outside Orchha there was no reason to glorify the town of Orchha or pay homage to Indrajit Singh.

So much for Orchha as the place of origin of the Bundelkhand School, but what about the Narsyang sahar of the 1680 Ragamala series? Khandalavala identified it with the Narsinghgarh in Malwa. This identification, always unlikely, is today definetely refuted by several newly found inscriptions on paintings of our School, which prove that Narsyang sahar is actually one of the two Narsinghgarh towns in East Bundelkhand: Narsinghgarh or Narsinghpur (see the map, Vol. II, p.15). At the date of the Narsyang Ragamala, both of these towns were under the control of Chhatrasal Bundela, who in 1671 had raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand. Inscriptions on miniatures of a second Ragamala series of the time, which bear the names of Chhatrasal and his sons (11), testify that he had already patronised miniature painters in the 1680s. The final proof comes from a recently discovered painting of a third Ragamala (12) , which illustrates - as does the Narsyang painting of 1680 - the Soratha Ragini, and is executed by the same artists. A colophon dates this painting to1687 and gives as place of production Lalitpura, a town which - like Narsyang sahar - which belonged to Chhatrasal’s Bundela Empire.

Fig. 2A , Vol. I, p. 18
Ragini Soratha, Narsyang sahar, 1680

Fig. 2B, Vol. I, p. 18
Ragini Soratha, Lalitpura, 1687

While Lalitpura lies in West Bundelkhand, Narsingh garh/Narsingh pur is sited in East Bundelkhand. That the Ragamala series of 1680 and 1687 were produced at two different, relatively distant places may be explained by Chhatrasal taking his painters with him when he moved around Bundelkhand in his campaigns against the Mughals.

Let us sum up. While we find in the hitherto so-called “Malwa“ miniatures more and more inscriptions and colophons which point to Bundelkhand as their place of production, we do not find a single colophon which points to Malwa. That fact should prevent us from trying to mend the Malwa fantasy by creating a Central Indian School which encompasses Malwa and Bundelkhand. We are, in fact, dealing with a Rajput School which originated at the Court of Orchha in the 1590s and, after the disintegration of Orchha in 1635, spread to Datia, which became an independent state, and on to the East Bundelkhand Empire of Chhatrasal (r. 1680-1732).

The Style of the founding series (Vol. I, pp. 74-89)

Cat. 1.1, Vol. I, p. 75
The Sakhi speaks to Krishna. From the Orchha Rasikapriya, c.1592-95

Fig. 1.1, Vol. I, p. 75
Vibhasa Ragini. From the Manley Ragamala, Amber, c.1610

Let us first look at the Rasikapriya painting Cat. 1.1, which comes from the founding series of the Orchha style. Radha’s Sakhi, her confidante and go-between, stands before Krishna who is sitting in front of his pavilion, and tries to persuade him to go to Radha. This scene is a standard composition of the series, many times repeated, which has nothing to do with the verses in the yellow text field (RP XIV, 30 and 32). The rasika or connoisseur will readily interpret it as a typical situation in the Radha-Krishna love-drama of union, separation and reunion, as it is celebrated in Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. He might think of the Twelfth Song of Canto VI, where the Sakhi entreats Krishna to go to the pining Radha, and where Krishna insists that Radha rather comes to him

The Orchha artist renders this narrative scene in the two-dimensional, abstract-geometric style of the indigenous Indian art tradition. On the right, a green rectangle bordered by a yellow frame stands for an open pavilion-chamber, and a triangle on stilts represents a chattri, indicating that the pavilion is a palace pavilion. On the left, a red colourfield serves as a courtyard in which the conversation of the two protagonists takes place. Overhead, a blue oval patch edged with a white wavy band in the form of a sinus curve signifies a rain cloud (13).

All the details which go beyond this minimalistic rendering of the setting are symbolic, and carry erotic meaning. So the empty red bed points to Radha’s separation from Krishna, which the viewer of the picture will comprehend as the separation of the bhakta (devotee) from God. The stylised lotus petals which ornament the plinth of the pavilion, enhance - as does the lotus flower Krishna carries - the erotic sentiment of shringara rasa. The peacock on the roof is both a symbol of Krishna and a metaphor for longing. Finally, the blue rain cloud hanging over the scene once again symbolises the Blue God.

As simplified and geometrical as the scenery are the puppet-like figures. The Krishna figure is composed of basic geometric forms. He sits bolt upright on the horizontal oval of a seating rug; above this his thighs and feet form a second horizontal oval, and from this rises the vertical oval of his torso. The square of his head rests, without a neck, directly on his shoulders. Furthermore, each part of Krishna’s body is given a complete representation - such as it “is“ rather than how an observer would see it from any particular viewpoint. In a realistic representation of this conversation, the entire figure of Krishna would be depicted in profile, yet in this picture Krishna’s head alone is shown facing the Sakhi. His eye is given a frontal rather than a profile representation, so that the whole eye can be seen - in Jain miniatures of the 14th and 15th centuries, the second eye is also shown, projecting from the contour-line of the face. Krishna’s shoulders and chest are drawn in three-quarter profile in order to show them completely. Thighs and legs are fully frontal.

Finally, the entire composition itself is conceived geometrically. The sizes of the figures and objects, and of the intervals between them are, as Joseph Dye has shown, restricted to multiples of a modular unit equal to the distance from the chin of the Krishna figure to the top of his head (1 cm)(14). In this way, the composition is tightly structured, with every element fixed immovably in its position.

This Orchha Rasikapriya painting which at first sight seemed to be rather simple has, on closer inspection, turned out to be relatively sophisticated and carefully executed. To understand it even better, let us now compare it to the painting from the Manley Ragamala of around 1610. This represents Vibhasa Ragini and is created by an artist who had training in Mughal painting techniques. As in the Orchha picture, we look at a pavilion and courtyard stage. Yet there we look at a three-dimensional pavilion, or rather look into the open veranda of that pavilion – which, incidentally, makes us question whether the green rectangle in the Orchha picture, too, signifies a veranda instead of a chamber. Furthermore, pictorial space is suggested by the perspective of the courtyard and its enclosing wall and gate, behind which cypresses tower. And last we look at human figures which are naturalistically drawn, have volume, and are proportioned appropriately to their architectural surroundings.

The Mughal artists at Akbar’s court learned the techniques for creating on a two-dimensional surface the illusion of a three-dimensional world through the copying of European prints. With their naturalistic pictures, however, they imported into India an alien art - an art at total variance with the indigenous tradition. The Indian artist, in contrast, aims at showing the essence of things rather than imitating the natural world, which to him is maya - mirage. His concern is to evoke rasa: the aesthetic mood that allows the contemplative viewer of his picture to forget his individual self and reintegrate with the universe.

Thus, the artists of the Orchha Rasikapriya series were not concerned with the naturalistic depiction of a particular scene of conversation or dialogue but rather with evoking the transcendent idea, the model from which the countless particular conversation scenes of the phenomenal world derive. What he strived for was to show the Urbild, or archetype, and not the Abbild, or copy. With this aim in mind he created a minimalist picture which concentrated on the essentials. To this end he also gave simplified geometric form to both the figures and the objects, for “geometry is“, to quote Plato, „the knowledge of the eternal“. In the Orchha painting there exists neither space nor time; the narrative scene is as frozen. Both protogonists are presented as separate entities, only their hand gestures – mudras – indicate that they are talking to each other. They are transformed into visual symbols of universal emotions: the Sakhi with her crossed forearms becomes the emblem of emphatic speaking; Krishna, with his raised hand, the emblem of refusal.

To deepen our understanding of the abstract-geometric style of the Orchha Rasikapriya still further, let us make a second comparison, this time to a Pahari painting which represents the same subject:

Cat. 1.5, Vol. I, p. 76
The Sakhi calls Radha to Krishna. From the Orchha Rasikapriya, c. 1592-95

Fig. 1.2, Vol. I, p. 76
The Sakhi calls Radha to Krishna. From the second Guler Gitagovinda, c. 1775

In both paintings the Sakhi tries to persuade the pining Radha to go to Krishna, who equally is suffering the pangs of separation. The Guler painter represents the two figures against the background of a naturalistically depicted landscape with hills and the Yamuna river. The Orchha painter, by contrast, seems to inlay the figures onto an empty, impenetrable colour field. The green color field of the courtyard and the two other colour fields - the red one of the pavilion chamber and the blue one of the raincloud - are, however, not the usual passive foils, whose only function is to present a beautiful decorative colour and give prominence to the figures. They are, on the contrary, active and autonomous carriers of mood, transporting the viewer of the picture into the transcendent world of Krishna’s heavenly Vrindavana and evoking the erotic sentiment which reigns in it: the bhakti rasa. Together, the three colour fields combine to make an emotional composition of their own. The hot red field of passionate desire and the cool malachite green field, symbolising separation and estrangement, are unified into a complementary whole, opposing each other in a static balance. Intruding from above into this stalemate, in a clash of colours, is the blue of the raincloud, announcing Krishna and generating mystic excitement.

These empty colour fields evoking the sentiment of transcendence, and the static, ornamental figures inlaid within them, remind us of modern art - the art of the Abstract Expressionists and the figurative art of Gauguin or Matisse. Indeed, we understand the Orchha Rasikapriya paintings best if we free ourselves from any expectation of mimetic art and approach them as we approach modern art. In 1943, Rothko and Gottlieb explained their art in a letter to the New York Times: “We favor“, they wrote “the simple expression of the complex thought…We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth…We assert the subject is crucial and only that subject-matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.“ This manifesto of modern art serves equally well as a guide to understanding indigenous Indian art.

Orchha Painting - Heir of Gwalior

In its division of the picture plane into impenetrable fields of flat colour into which figures are inlaid, and in its use of geometric forms and strict two-dimensionality, Orchha painting resumed the style of the Chaurapanchasika - illustrations which, 100 years earlier, had been produced by the artists of the Tomar Court at nearby Gwalior.

Fig. 1.5, Vol. I, p. 51
The Sakhi stands before Radha. From the Orchha Rasikapriya, c. 1592-95

Fig. 1.7, Vol. I, p. 81
Chaura stands before Champavati. From the Chaurapanchasika series, Gwalior, c.1500

The Chaurapanchasika (Fifty Stanzas of the Love Thief) is an erotic Sanskrit verse by the 11th-century poet Bilhana. The poet had stolen the affection of Champavati, the king’s daughter, and in jail reminisced in glowing verses about their amorous nights. If we compare the two paintings (Fig. 1.7 and Cat. 1.5), which are representative of the two series, we immediately recognise that the pictorial compositions as well as many details are exactly the same. In both paintings we look at an erotic lyrical scene. Both share the same setting, which features a pavilion, a courtyard, and a patch of blue sky edged by a white cloud band. In the red pavilion chamber an empty bed points to the erotic content of the conversation outside. Upon the bed lies an oblong bolster with tassels at the end. We even see the same row of lilac chevrons - representing stylised lotus petals - ornamenting the pavilion walls in the Chaurapanchasika series and, in the Rasikapriya series, the pavilion plinth. It is a decorative motif found only in the Chaurapanchasika style and in the Orchha Rasikapriya of 1592-95.

Equally identical is the figuration. In the Chaurapanchasika scene, the Love Thief stands before the seated Champavati, admiring and imploring her, while Champavati is calming him. In the Rasikaprya scene, the Sakhi stands before the seated Radha, entreating her to go to Krishna, while Radha pays no heed, absorbed in the pangs of love in separation. Both heroines are seated - one leg drawn up - on an oval seating rug which is representated vertically on the picture plane. Both are dressed the same way. They wear a patterned skirt, a short choli (blouse) and a transparent odhni (veil), whose ends are stiffly standing off from their bodies. The white sash which falls down between their legs spreads over the rug in the shape of an acute triangle.

The pavilion and courtyard stage, which was fully developed in the Chaurapanchasika series from preceding forms in the Western Indian style of 14th- and 15th-century Jain and Hindu miniatures,(15) became a standard setting for romantic love scenes in all Rajput Schools of the Mughal period. Nowhere, however, is there a second example which follows the model of the Chaurapanchasika series as closely as the Orchha Rasikapriya.

The same holds true for the second stage of the Orchha Rasikapriya series, the forest glade:

Fig. 1.10B, Vol. I, p. 84
Radha tells the Sakhi about Krishna’s faithlessness. From the Mumbai Gitagovinda, Gwalior(?), c. 1500-18(?)

Cat. 1.8, Vol.I, p. 55
Radha’s Sakhi speaks to Krishna. From the Orchha Rasikapriya, c. 1592-95

In both paintings, the glade is denoted by a red colour field in the centre. It is flanked on both sides by trees signifying the forest. Above the red colour field extends a black horizon strip and above it a blue sky strip, edged by a wavy white cloud band.

From the Chaurapanchasika Style to the Orchha Style

Compositions and details of the Chaurapanchasika group of paintings and of the Orchha Rasikapriya series are to such a high degree alike that it is tempting to see the Orchha artists as descendants of the artists who had, 100 years earlier in nearby Gwalior, created the Chaurapanchasika, the Palam Bhagavata Purana and the Mumbai Gita Govinda. In 1518 the Tomar Kingdom of Gwalior was conquered by the Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, and after Babur’s victory over Ibrahim Lodi, Gwalior became a Mughal fortress. The Gwalior court painters had to return to the ranks of the sub-courtly painters of the region. They and their descendants continued to produce paintings in the Chaurapanchasika style, but now in a provincial version, simplified and cheaper (16).

Thus, when at the end of the 16th century, Raja Ram Shah of Orchha, following the tradition of the Gwalior Court, hired miniature painters, he could readily find them nearby. Illustrating the first illustrated Rasikapriya manuscript around 1592-95, the new court painters worked in a simplified Chaurapanchasika style. Yet at the same time, they also innovated. They changed the format of the pages from the horizontal Indian pothi format to the vertical format of the Islamic book. They introduced gold for painting the ornaments of the figures, claiming courtly status for their works. Their fundamental innovation, however, was the discovery of the active, energised colour field. It is this innovation which created the distinctive Orchha style.

In the Chaurapanchasika style, the colour field is in the service of the figures. It offers a passive foil from which the figures stand out. In the Orchha style, by contrast, the colour field takes on a role of its own. It becomes a carrier of rasa, the aesthetic sentiment, and by its impenetrable emptiness evokes the vision of a higher, transcendent world which lies behind the phenomena of the empirical world. As the pictures of the Chaurapanchasika series are dominated by the stage presence of the monumental figures with their large, expressive eyes, so are the pictures of the Orchha Rasikapriya dominated by the energy of the intense colour fields which captivate the eye of the viewer even before he deciphers the figural scene.

Let us again look at Cat. 1.5 and Fig. 1.7. The comparison clearly shows the difference between a passive and an active colorfield. In the Chaurapanchasika picture, the red field of the pavilion chamber is primarily decorative. Its evocative power is weakened by the diverting ornamental patterns: the chequerboard design of the purple bed cover, the flower pattern of the drawn-up curtains, the rows of stylised lotus petals on the pavilion walls, and the yellowish-brown foliage pattern on the pillar. Moreover, the pavilion walls overlap the bed and the curtains, transforming the red colour field into the rear wall of the chamber. By contrast in the Orchha painting, there are neither bold patterns nor overlapping shapes suggesting spatial depth. The intense colour fields retain their full energy. To make the point in an exaggerated way: in the Chaurapanchasika picture, we look at expressive, monumental figures set against a background of decorative colour planes and ornaments. In the Rasikapriya picture, we look, by contrast, at a background of active, expressive colour fields in which the inlaid static figures assume an ornamental character.

We recognise the same distinction when we compare the two forest scenes in Cat.1.8 and Fig.1.10B. In the Gita Govinda picture, painted in the Chaurapanchasika style, the red colour field of the forest glade is overgrown by trees and bushes, and one of the trees even stands within the glade field. In the Orchha Rasikapriya picture, by contrast, the intense red of the glade field is undisturbed and exercises its full erotic power. It is this energised, active colorfield, evoking the picture’s rasa, which will become the trademark of the Orchha style.


  1. Vishakha Desai, Connoisseur’s Delights: Early Rasikapriya Paintings in India. PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 1984, pp.100-104.
  2. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Rajput Painting, 2 Volumes, London, 1916, p.3.
  3. N.C. Mehta, A Note on Ragamala, Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Vol. III, No. 2, 1934, pp.146-147.
  4. Karl Khandalavala, Leaves from Rajasthan, Marg, Volume IV, no. 3, pp.51-53.
  5. Anand Krishna, Malwa Painting, Varanasi, Bharat Kala Bhavan, 1963.
  6. Ibid., pp.12-13.
  7. For the style of the wall paintings see Edward Leland Rothfarb, Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Deo Bundela, Mumbai, The Marg Foundation, 2012.
  8. Joseph M. Dye, The Chronology and Stylistic Development of Seventeenth Century Malwa Painting, PhD dissertation, IFA, New York University, 1981.
  9. Loc. cit., p.14
  10. See the painting in the Tandan Collection in the National Museum, New Delhi, reproduced in: Harsha Dehejia, Rasikapriya, New Delhi, 2013, p.6.
  11. See Goswamy/Losty/Seyller, A Secret Garden, Museum Rietberg, 2014, Nos.70-73.
  12. See Pramod Chandra, “Notes on Malwa Painting“ in: Krishna/Krishna, The Ananda-Vana of Indian Art, Varanasi, 2004, Plate 5, p.289.
  13. In the Rasikapriya Krishna is often called ghanashyama: the one who is as dark as a raincloud.
  14. Dye, loc. cit., pp. 69-74.
  15. See Seitz, Vol. I, pp. 78-80, where the family tree for this composition is established.
  16. An example of a series in the provincial Chaurapanchsika style, produced after the fall of Gwalior, is the Vijayendra Suri Ragamala of c.1550, see Seitz, Vol. I, p. 86.

Contents of Volume I

  • Recollections of a Collector
  • “Orchha 1592“, not: “Malwa 1634“
  • The Bundela Rajas 1227 - 1947
  • Rasa Art
  • The illustrated Texts
  • Painting at the Court of Orchha
  • Period I Orchha 1580 - 1605:
    • The Founding of the Orchha-Style in Succession of the Chaurapanchasika-Style of Gwalior
  • Period II Orchha 1605 - 1635:
    • II.1 Bir Singh Deo (1605 - 1627): First Influences of Mughal Painting and Bhakti - Religiosity
    • II.2 Jhujhar Singh ( 1627 - 1635): Going back to the Indigenous Style
  • 1635 The Style Divides:
    • An Indigenous Style, rooted in Folk Art, at Orchha
    • A Mughalising Style at Datia
  • Period III 1635 - 1675:
    • III A1 Orchha 1635 -1650: The Boston Ragamala-Style
    • III A2 Orchha 1650 - 1675: The Flower-decorated Style

Contents Volume II

  • III B Datia 1635 - 1675
    • The Mughalising Style of the First Generation
  • Period IV 1675 - 1700:
    • IV B Datia and Panna 1675 - 1700: The Mughalising Style of the Second Generation
    • IV A Panna 1675 - 1700: Folkish Style
  • Period V 1700 - 1731:
    • V A Panna 1700 - 1731: Folkish Style in Paintings of Large format
    • V B Panna 1700 - 1731: The Mughalising Style of the Third Generation in Paintings of Large Format
  • An Indian Summer under the Pax Britannica
  • Period VI 1800 - 1850:
    • Datia : Provincial Mughal and Folkish Style