20

Illustration to an unidentified series, Ganesha enthroned, Garhwal

Opaque pigment on paper

Image 20.6 x 28.6 cm. ; folio 22.5 x 31.5 cm. Circa 1780

Seated on a simple golden throne on an open marble platform under a deep red canopy, Lord Ganesh is attended by two female courtesans. The attendant before him offers up a large platter of sweets while the attendant behind waves a flywhisk above his head. The plump figure is rendered with the typical four arms and he holds a mala and sword in his right hands and tray of sweets and axe in his left hands. In front of the throne a large red and white bowl contains various fruits next to a small water pot and lota. The composition is framed by two green bushes and set against a pale blue sky. As suggested by Amy Poster, in discussion of an identical scene, this is an ‘invocational fontispiece’, which may account for the page’s abraded condition on account that is the opening page to series of paintings. This is further supported by the designation as page number one inscribed on the reverse. However, the fact that the final layer of gold has not been applied to the throne, sword handle, sari borders and various other attributes may alternatively suggest that the page was never completed. Note the relatively sparse adornment of the attendant female figures and the simplicity of their saris. Compare with the treatment of several figures in Mukand Lal, Garhwal Painting, Bombay, 1968, nos. 26 and 35 and pls. IX and XIV. Also see W.G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, Volume II, London, 1973, nos. 5 (i), p. 78 and the front cover