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Image of The Bower of Quiet Passion

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Bookmark: https://collection.sdmart.org/objects-1/info/5183

The Bower of Quiet Passion

Nihal Chand, Indian, (1710–1782)

Creation date: ca. 1750
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.756
State/Province: Rajasthan
Dimensions: 9 in. x 12 1/2 in. (22.86 cm x 31.75 cm)

Provenance

Greater India Company, Inc., New York, New York ( - November 10, 1975)

Kenneth J. Lane, New York, New York ( - )

Doris Wiener Gallery, New York, New York ( - )

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York (November 10, 1975 - November 10, 1975)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (November 10, 1975 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

Myths, Monsters and Maharajas (Ellen Smart, 1992)
Maharaja Sawant Singh (r. 1699-1764) was a devotee of Vishnu, an accomplished poet, and a patron of the arts of music and painting. This painting illustrates one of his devotional poems about the love of Radha and Krishna dispelling the icy cold of the night.
At first glance the scene is a lovers' paradise, with a flower petal bed and beautiful music made by the gopis. The lovers can also be seen as Sawant Singh and his best beloved Bani Thani in Brindaban Forest. But ultimately, if interpreted in the light of Pushti Marg, the Pleasure Path cult of Kishangarh, it represents spiritual union with God, ecstasy and divine love being the path of the devoted.

Power & Desire, 04/00
In the heart of impossible lushness, Radha and Krishna lie on a bed made of lotus petals. In this secret place, they are attended by women-devotees who watch, sing and pluck more lotuses for them. As the devotees stand witness to their union, the painting is not a narrative of their love, but an icon of the fact of their love.
The love of Radha and Krishna is a metaphor for the soul’s longing for god. Empathetic participation in their love is believed to lead to union of the soul with god.
This painting is associated with Sawant Singh, a great Rajput patron and Krishna devotee. So absorbed was he in following love’s path to Krishna, that he abdicated his throne, and retired with his beloved to Krishna’s own boyhood town, to live out in his life the divine love-play of his lord.

October 2005
Domains of Wonder
One Rajput ruler composed devotional poems about the love affair of Krishna and the cowherd girl, Radha. He and his favorite courtesan would reenact the story of Krishna and Radha, even recreating the sylvan setting of their nocturnal rendezvous. It is ambiguous in this painting whether Krishna and Radha lie in the bower, or his devotees. Perhaps the artist wished to convey that, ultimately, they are the same.
Last Updated: 7/9/2021

Exhibition

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Myths, Monsters, Maharajas: Introducing the Binney Collection San Diego Museum of Art , 11/23/1991 - 1/26/1992

Indian Court Painting: 16th–19th century The Metropolitan Museum of Art , 3/25/1997 - 7/6/1997

Power & Desire: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art , 4/29/2000 - 10/5/2003

Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting San Diego Museum of Art , 10/22/2005 - 1/27/2008

Bibliography

This object has the following bibliographic references:

Vishakha N. Desai. Power & Desire: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2000
Page Number: 6, Figure Number: 3

Kavita Singh. Orientations Orientations Magazine Ltd. Hong Kong, May 2000
Page Number: 66-67, Figure Number: 9

Dr. Caron Smith. Arts of Asia Arts of Asia Publications Ltd. Hong Kong, September 2000-October 2000
Page Number: 97, 99, 100, Figure Number: 19

Dr. Mohinder Singh Randhawa and Mrs. Doris Schreier Randhawa. Kishangarh Painting Vakils, Feffer & Simons Limited. Bombay, India, 1980
Page Number: 28, 29, Figure Number: 8

Holland Cotter. The New York Times The New York Times. New York, New York, October 27, 2000
Page Number: B35

Partha Mitter. Indian Art Oxford University Press. Oxford, England, 2001
Page Number: 142, 150-151, Figure Number: 99

Power and Desire: Hong Kong Museum of Art. 2001
Page Number: cat. no. 55, Figure Number: 55

Vishakha N. Desai. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 12

Kavita Singh. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 17

Amina Okada. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 140-141, Figure Number: 54

Dr. Caron Smith. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 81, Figure Number: 81

Steven Kossak. Indian Court Painting: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, New York, 1997
Page Number: 22

Steven Kossak. Indian Court Painting: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, New York, 1997
Page Number: 113, Figure Number: 70

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. Domains of Wonder: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2005
Page Number: 94, 95, Figure Number: 32

Brijinder Nath Goswamy. The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works 1100 - 1900 Allen Lane by Penguin Books . India, 2014
Page Number: 448-451, Figure Number: pg. 448, detail; 450, 451

Heidi Rika Maria Pauwels. Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century India Studies in Asian Art and Culture. Berlin, 2015
Page Number: 169, Figure Number: Plate 10

Dr. Milo Cleveland Beach and Brijinder Nath Goswamy. Masters of Indian Painting: 1100-1650 Artibus Asiae Publishers. Zurich, 2011
Page Number: 596, Figure Number: fig. 3, 600

Marks

Inscription, On reverse: In this manner, in the quiet slumber of love, did the night pass (for the lovers) . . .

Number, On reverse:

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