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Baramasa: The Month of Vaishakha

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Baramasa: The Month of Vaishakha
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Item Code: HK35
Specifications:
Water Color on Paper
Artist: Navneet Parikh
8.0" X 13.0"
Baramasa, a convention of vernacular Hindi poetry, which is broadly the magnification of the classical Sanskrit tradition of shad-ritu varnan – description of six seasons, seeking to discover the world of human emotions in reaction to changes in nature occurring with the emergence of each of the six seasons, was initially a literary genre. It was subsequently transformed into Indian art, with greater emphasis in medieval miniature painting which discovered in it one of its rare themes and some of its most brilliant series that comprise now the rarest of the rare pieces in any art collection, treasured by an art lover or an art institution. Pictorially very rich and emotionally most fervent, a Barahmasa folio is characteristic to Indian land, her art and her people’s way to look beyond and discover its reflections within. World traditions of literature and painting have celebrated and sung of brilliant Spring, sad Autumn or monotonous Winter, but it is only the Indian soil that has woven its pangs of separation as well as delight of union around cyclic changes of nature in such continuity as would have epical stretch and constituted a genre different from any other.

This folio, a brilliant piece, portrays nature’s phenomenon and lovers’ minds as they change with the emergence of the month of Vaishakha, the second month of Indian calendar which corresponds to April/ May of the Common Era calendar. Though a contemporary work of art, the folio is outstanding in reviving the late 18th century Uniara art style of Rajasthani painting. It views the nature around and the entire ambience as reveals in literary texts :

The earth and the atmosphere are full of tender gusts of winds that carry aromatic fragrance of sweet nectar of flowers. Beauteous is the entire ambience. The greedy bee absorbed in collecting this sweet nectar gets trapped inside the lotus when it closes at the fall of evening, and painfully its lover, the male bee, longs for it the whole night. The world of human emotions is hardly different. The beloved dissuades her loved one not to leave her and go away for when separated from him the arrows of Love-god pierce her unbearably.

Modeled as Radha and Krishna, the royal lovers are shown seated in a terrace-pavilion of the palace with a char-bagh garden with rows of fountains in its front and a meadow with a column of colourful trees and a distant hill in the background. The young damsel is completely captivated by her lord’s mesmerizing eyes and would not like to be separated. An attendant, posted to dispel those who disturb the royal couple, is readying his bow and arrow to shoot at the cawing crow disturbing his master’s mood with its unpleasant voice. Outside the palace gate the palace inmates are worshipping ‘Bata’ – banyan tree, believed to bestow happy union and marriage life. A ritual relating to worship of the banyan tree, known as Vata Savatri Puja, is performed on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Jyaistha, the month that follows Vaishakha. There are in the foreground two warriors with bows and arrows in their hands returning after hunting, representing symbolically the fruition of the worship ritual.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.


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