Opaque watercolour on paper
Probably Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Museum no. IS.555-1952
This small painting is typical of work done in the eighteenth century in the Rajasthani courts of Bikaner and neighbouring Jodhpur. Paintings showing ladies indulging in pastimes like flying a kite, playing with a yoyo or combing their hair were intended as gifts to the ruler on auspicious occasions like Diwali, Holi or his birthday. This lady is painted in the distinctive western Rajasthani style of the period, with her large, curving eye, small pursed lips and shaded cheeks. This style of painting evolved in Jodhpur, but was also used in Bikaneri painting as artists moved freely between the two courts. The dark plum-coloured background is used in some other paintings that have inscriptions by Bikaner artists on the reverse, so we can conclude that this one was probably also painted in Bikaner.