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    Indian Miniature Painting of the Goddess Varuni on Makara

    India, probably Calcutta
    circa 1850

    13.8 x 8.6cm, with border: 20.5 x 15cm



    private collection, UK.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This very finely painted image of Varuni, the consort of Varana, shows the goddess on her vahana or celestial vehicle, Makara. It has been done in polychrome with gold highlights.

    The goddess has four arms, two of which hold aloft lotus buds. She wears ample jewellery and a golden, tiered crown. She sits on a blue and gold Persian-style carpet that is spread over the green back of her crocodile-like mount Makara.

    Her consort Varana is a Vedic deity associated initially with the sky, and  later also with the seas, hence the association with Makara.

    The artist has skilfully portrayed Makara’s body as half submerged in the water, in a manner mirrored by the see-through silk shawl that adorns Varuni’s upper body.

    The painting is under its original thin plate of glass and remains bound in the original mounts as prepared in India when the painting was executed.

    The painting is in excellent condition other than a small blemish at the base of Makara’s tail.

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