Vipralabdha Nayika, a Forlorn Heroine

From a Nayika series

Punjab Hills, Himachal Pradesh, Kangra, ca. 1830

Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Folio 11 x 8 ⅞ in, 28.1 x 22.4 cm

Painting 8 x 5¾ in, 20.2 x 14.8 cm


Vipralabdha Nayika, the seventh in Keshav Das’ eight categories, is a heroine who has waited for her lover and he has not appeared. She throws away her jewelry in disgust — his absence makes the ornaments burn her body. Often the poetry associated with this class of nayikas also speaks of food losing it taste and flowers their perfume. The beautiful lady is placed in an idyllic setting, at odds with her feelings. The artist has meticulously detailed the trees to the right, placing the nayika on a rolling hill by a spring, the perfect setting for a love tryst, but alas she is abandoned.

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