Description A man and woman make love in a pavilion, framed for the viewer’s gaze by an open wall. Enhancing the sensual mood of the painting are numerous motifs with erotic overtones in classical Indian poetry and aesthetics. A flowering vine entwines the tree outside the chamber, like a woman clinging to her beloved. The dark background signals nighttime, ideal for a secret rendezvous. The peacock is associated with the monsoon season, a favorable time of year for lovers, since heavy rains restrict the travel that might otherwise separate them. Here, the peacock lifts its head in a cry, adding to the sound of the woman’s jingling anklets—another trope in erotic poetry. A space at the top of the page was reserved for text (never filled in) to describe the scene below. Other paintings of the same style and format suggest that this folio belonged to a series illustrating erotic positions.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 2001, by gift.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2001
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