18 juillet 2019

An imaginary flower, Aurangabad, North Deccan, VS 1726/1669 AD



Lot 52. An imaginary flower, Aurangabad, North Deccan, VS 1726/1669 AD. From a Siddantha-saraSiddantha-bodha and Aporaksha-siddantha of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur (r.1629-1678 AD), opaque pigments on a gold ground, the reverse with 15ll. black and red devanagari written by Vyasa Madhava, gold illuminated margins. Painting 7 ¾ x 4 3/8 ins. (19.7 x 11 cm.); folio 12 ¼ x 7 ½ ins. (31 x 19 cm.). Estimate USD 30,000 - USD 50,000Price realised USD 68,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019 

Note: Further leaves from the same manuscript were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Haidar and Sardar, 2015, no.169, pp.292-3). The text refers to a previous exhibition that published further leaves and, one assumes, the colophon. The text contains three philosophical works by the long-lived maharaja of Jodhpur Jaswant Singh. He started out as a loyal ally of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan but backed Dara Shikoh over Alamgir (Aurangzeb). Aurangzeb showered honours and titles on him to in his loyalty, and to assist in his military campaign against Shivaji in the Deccan (Bose, 2015, p.174). 

This volume shows clearly the mix of influences that were all to be found throughout India at this time. The Hindu text is combined with Mughal-like flowers, but with an Deccani imaginary flavour and the Aurangabad gold ground. These are framed in borders that derive from the Ottoman cintamani design. Attributing the manuscript without the colophon would not be straightforward.

Christie's. Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence, New York, 19 June 2019

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