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LADY WORSHIPPING AT A SHRINE TO SIVA. Illustration to the Indian musical mode, Bhairavi Ragini. Mandu, Central India, c. 1550. Victoria and Albert Museum (J. C. French collection, I.S. 110—1955)
LADY WORSHIPPING AT A SHRINE TO SIVA


In this picture, a lady with lemon-yellow bodice, chequered skirt and exquisitely starched veil, kneels before a shrine to Siva—the phallic idol in dark green appearing before her ardent gaze. Her hands clasp the white cymbals used while chanting hymns. The term, 'Bhairavi', is feminine for 'Bhairava', a synonym of Siva and the picture with its accompanying poem is intended to symbolize the violent nature of his wishes.
Although at times attributed to Jaunpur in Eastern India (on account of its resemblance to the Jaunpur manuscript of 1465), the picture was early recognized by Mr. Basil Gray as 'stylistically transitional from the Gujarati to the Rajasthani school' and as possessing 'all the vigour of a new departure'. He regarded it as not earlier than 1550 in date or later than 1580 and ultimately attributed it to the 'Western Indian or Southern Rajasthani School'. He stressed, in particular, that the transition from the style of the present picture to that of Plate 4 (here attributed to Malwa, c. 1630) was easy and found it a clear precursor for the style of Rajasthani painting since accepted as that of Mewar c. 1650. Mr. Gray's conclusions were of the greatest importance and there can be no doubt that his pioneer study of the style established for the first time the true origins of Rajasthani painting.
In support of an attribution to Mandu (immediately adjacent to Southern Rajasthan), attention is drawn to the following similarities with Plate 2—the presence of a lotus-pond with ducks, the employment of dark green colour and brusque rectangles, the inclusion of angular transparent veils and trimly curved physiques, while white pennants, spotted with red, echo the white and scarlet cushion immediately behind the king.