Author: Sukhdev Singh Charak
Publisher: Abhinav Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170173558
Ragamala paintings have a special significance in the world of art, which has not so far been fully realised. They not only display their own technique and art of colour and line but also express, interpret and exhibit the soul/spirit and beauty of another art, the art of music, the art of svara-laya and cultivated/cultured voice.
Music was considered to be of divine origin and was supposed to possess the property of evoking an ecstatic state of mind or mood, called rasa-anubhuti, in the musician as well as the listerner. This conception of rasa is the basis of all art in India. The sadhakas (practitioners) devised some formulas in order to capture and comprehend the divine quality of music and to evoke rasa or brahmananda. These were formulated in the form of prayers in which the conceptual form, dhyana-murti, of the raga was described. Thus the ragas were personified or deified. This fact provided a rich and expressive theme to Indian painters and it has considerably enriched the art treasure of India.
Whether the dhyana-theory of ragas is scientific or otherwise it certainly furnished a rich source of theme for the Indian artists who painted some of the most charming and inspiring pictures representing the ragas (melodies). The two Ragamala MSS discovered in a Manuscripts collection at Jammu are a part of the extensive art treasure created all over India during the period from 16th to 19th centuries. The Jammu Ragamala paintings were done expressly with the usual object of depicting their dhyana-murtis or icons in order to create the relevant rasa situation in those looking at them.
List of Illustrations
Raga, Rasa and Painting
Evolution of Ragas and Ragamalas
Econography of Ragas
Jammu Ragamala Sets