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Eastern Encounters pattern
Eastern Encounters

Drawn from the Royal Library's collection of South Asian books and manuscripts

CAT. NO. 61

Gita Govinda गीत गोविन्द (Song of the Cowherd): song two verse one

Rajput (Jaipur), <i>c</i>.1800

Folio from a series of the Gita Govinda (see cat. no. 60) | Painting in opaque watercolour including gold and silver metallic paints and gold leaf with decorative incising on paper; set into painted margins on paper | 33.7 × 43.5 cm (folio); 27.2 × 37.4 cm (image) | RCIN 1005114.n

Written in the yellow band above the image are the lyrics to the first verse of the second song of the Gita Govinda, sung with raga gurjari:

You rest on the circle of Sri’s breast, wearing your earrings,
And fondling forest garlands. Triumph, God of Triumph![199]

Rajput patrons often had their artists depict them in the physical presence of gods, as humble worshippers or courtiers of the Divine.[200] Here the Maharajah and his wife stand before Vishnu, who sits enthroned as he embraces his consort Lakshmi (‘Sri’). True to the song lyrics, he wears a prominent kundala (‘hoop’) earring and a long floral garland. To the left, female musicians accompany a dancing girl who leaps energetically in the air. 

  • [199] Gita Govinda, p. 72.

    [200] See, for example, ‘Maharaja Bakhat Singh Worshipping Krishna’, p. 77, cat. no. 12, and Vishnu and Lakhsmi in their Heavenly Palace’, p. 102, cat. no. 22, in Diamond et al. 2008. 

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