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Ragmala Painting

Saturday, June 20th, 2009 | Author:

One of the less known but extremely artistic forms of paintings is Ragmala paintings. Ragmala means a garland of melodies. The concept of melody as paintings may confuse people but in true sense it is a form of abstract art that is not only beautiful but unique also. The pictorial depiction is mesmerizing. The beauty of ragmala paintings has captivated aesthetic sense of numerous people. To know about origin of this form of paintings, we will have to delve into origin of Ragas.


Indian classical music is based on the foundation of ragas. Ragas refer to melodic mode and it implies various plays of notes or frequencies exemplified by melodic movements. All sorts of permutations and combinations are applied to make the magic of ragas work in classical music. The thing about melodies is their effects. Melodies are powerful enough to produce an emotion or pleasing sensation or set the mood. Ragas had been decided according to the time, season and occasion.


When these melodies were personified through imagery and illustrations, the birth of ragmala paintings took place. The personification in verbal imagery took place during late mediaeval period. A treatise named as Sangeeta Ratnakara mentions the association of each raga with a god. The inspiration behind these paintings came from comprehending the divine qualities of ragas in visual form. Since then the concept of ragmala paintings have continued to exist and enthrall. The art form was greatly patronaged by rulers and aristocrats. The artists aimed at capturing the relationship between sound and emotion. The first sign of ragmala paintings were found in Deccan region. Since then ragmala paintings have used color and mood to make music and dance as the subject of art.