Skip to main content
Lot 536
MEWAR, 1719
21 March 2023, 18:00 EDT
New York

Sold for US$21,675 inc. premium

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist

Ask about this lot


MEWAR, 1719
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; inscribed above in Devanagari with a poetic couplet from Bihari Lal's Sat Sai and numbered '10' (also numbered '10' verso); "With crowned head and girdled waist, with flute in hand and garland on your chest: in such a guise dwell ever in my heart, Biharilal." (trans., Snell, 2021, v. 187).
Image: 8 1/2 x 7 in. (21.6 x 17.8 cm);
Folio: 9 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (24.8 x 21 cm)


Recognized by Losty as being an 'exceptionally fine' page from the first illustrated series of Bihari Lal's Sat Sai, this painting is undoubtedly also one of the more important. The subject gives form to the poetic couplets above in which Bihari Lal declares that among the many forms of Krishna, it is Him as the amorous cowherd that inspires his devotion. In the best-known recension of the poem (Grierson, 1896), this is the second verse and Bihari Lal's initial praise of Krishna. With "Biharilal" also being a name for Krishna, meaning "darling wanderer [in the groves]", the verse is also one of very few to include the author's poetic signature. Indeed, Bihari Lal is depicted in the bottom right corner, reciting to a companion. At the painting's center, his muse dances on a lotus, flute in hand, wearing a brilliant, flounced dancing skirt (kachani) with tiers of gold-lined orange, crimson, green, and Turkish-blue.

Glynn has attributed this painting to a recently identified master, dubbed 'The Master of the Jagged Water's Edge', from the artist's signature zigzag water banks, ("A Note on the Master of the Jagged Water's Edge", in A Splendid Land, edited by Diamond & Khera, 2022, p. 362 [n7]). Two other folios from this series were sold at Bonhams, New York, 14 September 2015, lot 107.

Jerry Losty, Of Royal Patronage: Indian Paintings from 16th to the 19th Centuries, Carlton Rochell Asian Art, New York, 2020, p. 83, no. 32.

Moti Chandra, Mumbai
Pramod Chandra, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964-2014
American Private Collection

Dr. Moti Chandra, the eminent art historian, author, numismatist, and Indologist, was Director of the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) for over thirty years. His son, Dr. Pramod Chandra, was Harvard University's George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art for twenty-four years and was described in a tribute in the Harvard Gazette as an "exemplar of the most exacting standards in the scholarship of Indian art history." As well as a beloved professor, Pramod Chandra was a celebrated author and curator, including guest curator of the renowned 1985 exhibition "The Sculpture of India" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The contributions of both father and son to the appreciation and understanding of Indian art cannot be overstated.

Additional information