Ragamala – Poetry, Painting and Music

Contemporary rendering of ragamala paintings along with the traditional versions in Mughal and Rajput style.


In music literature from the 14th century onwards, ragas and raginis are frequently desribed in a short Sanskrit verse where they are personified as a particular deity or as a hero and heroine in various traditional love scenes. Later these raga ragini images were portrayed in a series of paintings known as ragamalas. As H.J.Stoke puts it – “Poetry, painting and music were thus brought into a new relationship”.
Source: The Raga Guide: Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas Box set


Ragamalas were not made to hang on a wall; they are tactile objects for private consumption. Each set of thirty or forty loose pages were sometimes bound or left as a set and stored on a shelf. At special events they would have been passed round fellow connoisseurs after shared food and music.
Source: What is Ragamala? By LIZZIE WATSON


These ragamalas were also painted as murals in the private quarters of palaces, though few of these have survived.
Source: The metropolitan museum of art.


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