The Matron Sages Bestow Their Love and Blessings on Shakuntala After They Receive the News of Her Marriage with King Dushyant

UnknownMid 18th Century

National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi
New Delhi , India

The artist depicts the event of joyous celebrations among the women of the hermitage, after sage Kanva, the foster father of Shakuntala, gives his approval on the union of Shakuntala and king Dushyant of Hastinapur. In the porch around Shakuntala’s little hut, a group of women gather to extend advice, felicitate and bless Shakuntala and celebrate with her in her moment of good fortune.

The women have spent time adorning Shakuntala, and the artist depicts the gathering in the process of dispersal. Shakuntala is depicted in the painting wearing a red saree and a white blouse, her profile distinguished by her long collyrium-lined eyes, sitting on the straw-woven mat and gazing in front of her, preoccupied by her thoughts. The artist depicts the rest of the women in various poses and attitudes, some sitting deep in thought, while others are conversing with each other, as they exit Shakuntala’s little abode.

Though most of the women have stereotypical facial features, the artist renders a variety in their visages by their different colouring. Some women, however, are distinguished with individualistic features - Shakuntala’s friend Priyamvada, who is depicted wearing a pink saree and a red blouse and is shown as adjusting her saree’s drape over her head, is depicted with a distinct profile and a rather aquiline nose. Gautami, Shakuntala’s foster mother is depicted on the left sitting squatting on the mat with her thighs close to her chest, and dressed in a white saree and a red blouse. Her distinct colouring, deep set eyes and a flattish nose, too render her as distinct from the other women.

The two aged women, one wearing a white saree in the porch is depicted having stood up to leave the precincts of the hut, and the other elderly woman depicted in a pink saree in the foreground, not only have distinctly rendered profiles seemingly copied from life, but their wrinkled countenances and sagging folds of the skin of their face render them as unique portraits amidst a sea of conventional faces.


  • Title: The Matron Sages Bestow Their Love and Blessings on Shakuntala After They Receive the News of Her Marriage with King Dushyant
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Mid 18th Century
  • Physical Dimensions: 33 x 37 cm
  • Style: Nalagarh / Hindur
  • Accession Number: 89.503/9

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