Miniature Indian Erotic Portrait on Bone

c. 1850
$1,980 USD
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W: 4.5" D: 0.75" H: 6.75"
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Created in the mid-19th century, this miniature of a willowy nude is an example of India’s Company School of painting. As the British East India Company extended its influence into the subcontinent, artists began to respond to the growing presence of foreigners by introducing Western styles into the time-honored Mughal miniature tradition.

With its soft palette, sweeping vista, and stylized features, this work retains much of the flavor of traditional Indian painting. The keen attention to detail, a hallmark of Mughal painting, brilliantly captures the woman’s lavish jewelry and hennaed feet. The only nod to Western conventions is in the figure’s pronounced hourglass figure and come-hither pose, which appears more a Victorian femme fatale than courtly mistress.

Painted on bone with water-based pigments, a medium unique to Delhi artists, this fetching portrait is an excellent example of the hybridized style that emerged during this fascinating transitional period of Indian art history.

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