King Pururava with Urvashi

King Pururava with Urvashi

by Ghasi Dayaram of Jaipur
circa 1790 CE

Gouache on paper
12.2 x 16.9 in. (31 x 43 cm.)

A folio from Jaipur Bhagwad Purana, canto eleven-chapter twenty six, depicts story of a Chandravamshi King Pururava and his wife, a celestial nymph, Urvashi.

Based on the story, Pururava was the direct descent of Bramha and was born in the line of Chandra. He had an unfortunate incidence with apsara Urvashi who was born on earth because of a curse. She marries Pururava on certain conditions but when they are not met, she returns to her palace. Lovelorn Pururava eventually follows her and on his return, he finds his heart full of regret. He then indulges himself in penance and leaves his body. Devatas from Vaikuntha or swarg receive his body in a flying cart. Like an animation, Pururava is depicted four times in the composition.

Jaipur Bhagwad was possibly commissioned by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I and was completed in the atelier of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. All the folios were finished in a workshop pattern where the running narratives were composed by one master artist. Manuscript name, canto details and artist’s name are written on the margins and inscriptions are written along the depictions in between the composition in golden ink. A fascinating attempt is made towards perspective, vanishing point, shade effects and three dimensional architectural features.