Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unknown Artist
Bhairavi Ragini, illustration from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) Series
Work Type
c. 1700
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Rajasthan, Bikaner
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; Rajput Style, Bikaner School
15.24 x 11.75 cm (6 x 4 5/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Bhairavi Ragini is commonly represented by a young heroine (nayika) worshipping at a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Here, in this painting, the female figure kneels in front of a lingam, the aniconic form of Shiva, while chanting hymns in honor of the god and playing symbols. A female musician stands outside the shrine playing the mridagam, a type of drum. A white bull in the left corner represents Nandi, Shiva’s mount. This painting is a pictorial metaphor for a raga, a musical phrase that is used as the basis for improvisation. Rajput Style, Bikaner School
Publication History

Stuart Cary Welch and Milo Cleveland Beach, Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks Northern Indian Painting from Two Traditions, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1965), page 69/figure 17

Kim Masteller, "Pious Love: Iconography of the Nayika as a Devotee", ed. Harsha V. Dehejia, Roli Books (India, 2004), p 179 - 180

Exhibition History

Viewing Architecture: Paintings and Photographs of Indian Architecture, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/14/1984 - 09/17/1984

Ambassador's Choice: The Galbraith Collection of Indian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/15/1986 - 04/06/1986

Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks - Revisited: Northern Indian Miniatures from two Traditions, Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/31/1990 - 06/10/1990

From India's Hills and Plains: Rajput Painting from the Punjab and Rajasthan, 17th through 19th Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/1993 - 10/31/1993

Rasika, the Discerning Connoisseur: Indian Paintings from the John Kenneth Galbraith Collection, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/1998 - 04/05/1998

Women in South Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/26/2017 - 01/07/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at