Devidasa of Nurpur
India (Basohli, Jammu)
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper; 6 3/4 x 11 in. (17 x 28 cm)
Gift of Dr. J. C. Burnett, 1957 (57.185.2)
This picture's bold conception mirrors the charged nature of the event it portrays. Shiva has just cheated his wife, Parvati, of her necklace, and she is pleading for its return. The deities flank the game board on a tiger skin tilted upward toward the picture plane; on either side are trees whose pendulous heads, nodding inward, mimic the postures of the figures. Shiva, his face partially turned toward the viewer, glances shyly across the field of brilliant yellow. Although Parvati stares resolutely at her husband, the patterns of her sari, her veil, and the tiger-skin tail and claws behind her betray her agitation. The forward thrust of her hand is continued by the stripes of the tiger skin, which carry our eyes back to the playful, ash-smeared god.
The brilliant coloration and bold patterning show the same ancestry. The drawing here is less subtle, however, the mood less intense, and the surface less luxuriant than their counterparts in the earlier Basohli style.