Mangoes as seen in Indian miniature paintings


More than just a fruit, the mango proves to be a symbol of fertility and picking it from the trees as the ultimate princely pastime. “The sweet and delicious mango has always been history’s favorite fruit, as it is now. Shah Jahan regularly had his mangoes flown from the Konkan coast to the imperial kitchens of Delhi while his grandfather Akbar had a mango plantation, Laakhibagh in Darbhanga, specially planted with one hundred thousand choice mango trees,” note the creators of Arts of Hindostan, as they collected a selection of works of art from the Mughal Lucknow and Farrukhabad schools, the Rajput schools of Bundi and Bikaner, the early Deccan school of Golconda and the Company School of Calcutta, spanning three centuries .

Kachha Keri, Pukka Aam, 1814, Calcutta, watercolor on paper, from an album of botanical studies by master artist Sita Ram. A fine example of the Company School genre, the album contains a wide variety of flowers and fruits, including frangipani and lilies, custard apples and mangoes. With photorealistic mastery, Sita Ram shares India’s tropical abundance with her patron’s European friends and relatives. Photo courtesy of Hindustan Arts

The Mango Season, circa 1760. Farrukhabad, gouache on paper. Picking delicious mangoes, perhaps Lucknowi’s mouth-watering safedas, becomes a ritual in this image from the palace groves of Farrukhabad. A princess smoking a hookah gazes at her servants with interest. Photo courtesy of Bonhams


Comments are closed.