In the Gallery:
1. “An elegant lady stands facing right holding a white floral garland with both hands. She is finely dressed in an olive green pleated sari edged with gold over a crimson underskirt, the end draped over her head like a veil and trailing behind her back with a lavish trim of gold. She wears a short gold choli (bodice) stretched voluptuously over her breasts, and copious amounts of jewellery including necklaces, pendants, bazubands, bangles, bracelets, hair ornaments, anklets and a nose ring. A blue scarf that seems to fly in the wind is finished with a gold and pearl tassel. Her hands and fingers are delicately hennaed.”
Fragment from a 18th century picchavai. Painting on cloth, probably Deccani.
This could be a ghagra-choli (also the blue scarf is more likely a braid ending in an ornamented tassel). Ghurye’s Indian Costume has it that this kind of garment required an elaborate underskirt that was nevertheless fully covered by the dupatta in earlier variants aka akin to a sari (pity the book is not readily available, it is dry reading but meticulously detailed).
2. A princess bidding farewell to her family (1900s). Perhaps the child is her son.
Though it says Delhi, the loose hair, mukut (tiara) and the saris very strongly suggest Bengal.
UPDATE: “The imagery suggests the theme is the departure of Devi Durga at the end of the Durga Puja festival in Bengal. While Durga is worshipped as the universal mother, there is a Bengali belief that she is also the daughter of the house. Note Ganesh in left.” Thanks for that tirtaambarion! I did wonder about the significance of the elephant figure.
3. 19th century Jaipur portrait of a Hindu woman (I am never sure how authentic ebay offerings are though this has a good amount of description and some links – and this is indeed quite naturalistic)
The forehead design – apart from the bindi – is likely sandalwood (though turmeric is also used).
Love the colours and the impressive jewellery (unusually metal is absent). And the topi (sort of like qawwali headgear) – caps are always good.
Hi Anu, Just now I was also admiring these three posts on your Tumblr blog, and wanted to say how much I love them! So exquisite, and full of emotion. In particular the Jaipur portrait and the departure of Devi Durga. West Bengal is very dear to my heart, so this was particularly special. The detail, colour and composition of the 18th century picchavai is divine. Thank you for sharing (and for following me back) 🙂 Mardi
Thank you for dropping by mardi! Sorry abt the delayed reply. I love the paintings too.
My pleasure re following, I look forward to more posts.