This painting obviously portrays a festival or ritual celebration, though it is unlike any of the known or established festivals or ritual celebrations of India or of any of its major regions. Apart that India, a land of diverse believes and traditions of past, has numerous local festivals and rituals confining to a state or an area, or sometimes to a family, born of some events of local significance, in princely states, Rajasthan in particular, with every state seeking to have its own distinction in everything, even a ritual, such diversifications in the forms and shapes of festivals were quite common. The procession portrayed here in the painting is obviously a part of the celebration of a royal ritual in all probabilities from Rajasthan. It might be a form of the Mangala-Gauri festival celebrated in the month of Shravana, the monsoon month. Though a festival of young married wives observing fast and austerities dedicated to Gauri on all Mangalas – Tuesdays of the month during first five years of their marriages for the well-being of their husbands, its celebration involves the participation of males too. Kin of those observing the austerities, which include nights-long waking and to help it nights-long performance of music and other activities, are invited to join such performance. Maybe, in medieval India the princely families carried with them, besides gifts, also idols of Gauri, as records this painting.
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
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