Nala and Damayanti: A Great Series of Paintings of an Old Indian Romance

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Author: BN Goswamy
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 264, ISBN 978 93 83098 897, Rs 2,995)

Three things come magically together in this remarkable series of paintings: a great text, a delectable old romance and the work of one of the most talented families of painters known to Indian art. The text is the 12th century Naishadhacharita of Sriharsha, one of the last great kavyas of Sanskrit literature. The story, told with the utmost delicacy, centers around the intense love that grew – mutual sights heard of but yet unseen – between king Nala and princess Damayanti, and the painter family that produced this exquisitely painted series came from the small principality of Guler in the ‘Pahari’ hills: today’s Himachal Pradesh.

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