Rajput, Punjab Hills, Guler, ca. 1820-30
A NOBLE AND HIS BELOVED ENJOYING WINE. Gouache on paper.
Within a palace terrace that has been converted to an outdoor private space by the addition of an awning overhang, a Sikh noble and his beloved enjoy an intimate moment. The canopy acts as a shelter from the warm sun which bounces off of the whitewashed walls of the building. A maidservant who had just emerged from the chamber on the left, carries a dish with edibles and pours liquid, probably wine, into the noble's cup.
The decorative element is kept to a minimum, but is effective is conveying a theme of elegance. The bedcover, a cotton that provides a cooling effect in the summer heat, is simply patterned with white flower petals, while the carpet, or perhaps inlaid marble floor, is a plethora of floral exuberance.
Because of the way his turban is tied, the man can be identified as a member of the Sikh religion, a group that was especially concentrated in the northwest area of India.
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