The summer month of Jyestha


  • Catalogue text

    The twelve months of the year (bārahmāsa) and their seasonal effects on the activities of idealized lovers were a popular theme of Hindi poets and of the painters at the Rajput courts who illustrated their evocative verses. This bārahmāsa page from Kotah depicts the scorching summer month of Jyeṣṭha (May-June) when the land is parched, the tanks are dry and neither man nor beast dare go out in the sun. Lovers should stay at home together in this season, and the nāyaka (hero, in the form of Kṛṣṇa) and the nāyikā (heroine) are shown taking their ease in Rajput fashion in the upper storey of a palace with a tall, balconied corner turret. The walls and roof are covered with cooling screens of dampened grass and two maids stand in attendance with a fan and punkah, while fountains play in the walled formal gardens below. The nāyikā draws her lover’s attention to the world outside, where men and animals are immobolized by the heat. Elephants and a tiger together seek the shade of a pīpal tree; a peacock and snake have forgotten their enmity and the deer stand unmolested by the hunters resting under another tree.

    In: Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987)

Further reading

Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987), no. 89 on p. 80, p. xiv, illus. p. 80

Reference URL

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