start page
THE FESTIVAL OF SPRING. Kangra, c. 1800. Victoria and Albert Museum

Two ladies with their maids are celebrating in private the same Spring Festival which is illustrated on Plate 1. The figures are now somewhat shorter, the faces straighter and the air of naturalism more restrained. The subject with its sexual implications is still of some significance but it is the supple forms which surge and sway together which are clearly the picture's prime concern. Each smoothly poised figure is a kind of unit in a general dance and the fundamental identity of the forms is expressed by the sinuous curving line which fuses the bodies into a single flowing rhythm. As a consequence, there emerges from the scene an ideal type, serene, aristocratic and loving, imbued with innocent integrity but above all, exhibiting a grace of posture which dignifies even the most trivial of movements.