Ragamala: Picturing Sound

Vasant Ragini, India (Rajastan, Amber), early 17th century; ink, opaque watercol
Vasant Ragini, India (Rajastan, Amber), early 17th century; ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, 9 13/16 x 7 7/8 inches (Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo: Altoon Sultan)

Altoon Sultan blogs about the exhibition Ragamala: Picturing Sound at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through December 14, 2014.

Sultan writes that in Indian painting the "forms and colors are so engaging, and their intimate size invites close looking. Their worlds are magical, with attention paid to flowing, brightly colored garments and elegant limbs, and to the riches of the nature... A ragamala is a group of paintings, gathered in a folio, which depict a range of melodies, with different moods. In some paintings, as the one above, the mood is written as poetry in the margin. And to quote the exhibition description, "The unifying subject of a ragamala is love...."