In the style of Faqir Ullah
Page from a Ragamala series: Bhairava Raga
About 1760, Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Purchase for the Guthrie-Goodwin Collection
This atmospheric nocturnal image is filled with mystery, piety, and enchantment. Sheltered by a tree with bottlebrush leaves, the Hindu god Shiva, holding an Indian stringed instrument called a vina, attends a ritual ceremony held in his honor. A tripod supports a water vessel above a white shrine around which three women make offerings, while a fourth plays a tambourine. Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shiva, sits nearby. The artist uses intense hues of color on the figures to heighten the drama of the night scene, illuminated only by the lamps and a few stars. A distant walled town provides contrast to the country setting in the foreground.