Princess Enjoying a Sparkler In the Month of Karttika

Zoom in and explore the delicate colors and striking contrasts.

By National Museum - New Delhi

Princess Lighting a Sparkler (1750) by UnknownNational Museum - New Delhi

Seated on the terrace of her palace is a princess, surrounded by five attendants who hold objects for her comforts. The young princess is seated on a golden chauki and is holding in one hand an ornate golden huqqa decorated with flowers, and in the other a firecracker.

A pandan or container for keeping betel leaves, a tray or thali with some fruit or food item and two gold surahi’s or long necked flasks filled with wine or water, are placed close to the princess.

Shown in profile, she wears a diaphanous gold ghagra and is accessorized with all the customary jewellery made of pearls, subtly highlighting her beauty in this dark night.

The smoke from the sparkles of the firecracker has been stylishly rendered by the artist, which coils as it disappears into the air. 

Behind the princess stand her five attendants, holding a surahi, a morchhal , candles, a flywhisk, a wine tray and a pandan.

The white terrace building of the palace has intricate wall paintings depicting in its niches, trays with flower vases or guldans filled with flowers.  

The white background of the walls, decorated with pastel shades and gold colours, gets heightened with the flat bare dark grey background. 

The delicate play of colours and the striking contrast of the plain background, as compared to the exquisitely painted walls and elaborately flower filled carpet in flaming red, expose this Kishangarh artist’s mastery over his medium.

The month of Karttika is indicated by the cooler autumn month highlighted by the festival Diwali or Deepavali which occurs fourteen days after the full moon of the month of Asvin. The sky is clear and shining bright by the illuminating lights of the Diwali festival. 

To enjoy this festival of lights, which occurs on an amavasya (dark night), firecrackers are lit and lights are lit and placed on the walls and entrances of the houses.

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