Opaque pigment on paper heightened with gold
Image 19 x 12 cm.; Folio 23.4 x 16.4 cm.
The Nayika standing alone in a moment of quiet contemplation, is elegantly dressed in a white peshwaz, decorated with a fine golden border. The princess is richly adorned with gold and pearl earings, multiple necklaces, rings and bracelets. Her slender fingers are decorated with henna, and on her left arm she wears a gem-encrusted bazuband tied with a heavy tassle. Despite covering her head with a veil, her coy expression is revealed, as she lowers her head to throw a fleeting glance towards an unseen lover. For a similar composition compare a work in the British Museum Collection (Registration Number 1948, 1009, 0.113)
The depiction of female beauty remained a popular theme in Pahari painting, particularly during the last quarter of the 18thcentury. Unsurpassable facial beauty was the hallmark of Guler and Kangra artists, who celebrated the feminine in their works. The artists also exhibited their dexterity in the use of rhythmic and lyrical flow of lines portraying gentle and bashful heroines. Locks of hair falling on round faces, arch-shaped eyebrows, petal shaped lips and fish-like eyes are the salient features of these heroines who are considered as the vessels of Sringara, the erotic sentiment.