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N04095 Raagni Todi (Goddess Tune) 1913
Inscribed in the Urdu language, in Persian style, 'amal-i faizi rahamin' (work of Fyzee-Rahamin) b.l.
Watercolour, gouache, and pen and ink on paper, 20 1/4 x 14 1/4 (51.6 x 36)
Presented by Sir Victor Sassoon, Bt. 1925
Prov: Sir Victor Sassoon, Bt., London (purchased from the artist through Arthur Tooth and Sons 1925)
Exh: Tableaux du Peintre Hindou Fyzee-Rahamin, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, February 1914 (no catalogue traced); Paintings by S. Fyzee-Rahamin, Goupil Gallery, London, June 1914 (25) as 'Raagni Todi'; Indian Paintings, Vedic, Mythological, Traditional, Homelife and the Mountains of Kashmir, etc. by S. Fyzee-Rahamin, M. Knoedler, New York, November 1918 (6); India: Vedic, Mythological and Contemporary Water-Colours by S. Fyzee-Rahamin, Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, June-July 1925 (14) as 'Raagni Todi (Goddess Tune)'
Lit: Shahinda (Begum Fyzee-Rahainin), Indian Music (London 1914), p.61, repr. facing p.61; Atiya Begum Fyzee-Rahamin, The Music of India (London 1925), pp.5, 80-2, repr. facing p.80 as 'Ragini Todi'
This watercolour is one of a series of at least twelve made by Fyzee-Rahainin in 1913 in connection with a book by his wife on Indian music, which was first published by the Goupil Gallery in 1914, at the time of his exhibition there. In her foreword to the second edition of 1925, his wife recalled: 'It was in a tiny fishing village near the seaside, Bombay, in 1913 ... I sang the eternal limpid melodies. Rahamin immortalized them in a series of beautiful paintings, the Ragas and Raginis (the male and female melodies). I dashed off a few lines in explanation. We soon left for Europe, where the written text was brought out in book form, and helped to explain the symbolic significance of the Ragas and Raginis.'
As she relates (op. cit., pp.80-2): 'The Raginis are represented as shy young maidens of surpassing loveliness, living in perpetual spring and seeking heavenly bliss in music ...
'Todi is represented as a young maiden of ravishing fairness. Dressed in white and gold with the sacred emblem marked in Camphor and Saffron on her brow. Seated on a hilltop in the midst of a lovely forest, wholly absorbed in playing of the Vina. Her pulses beat in a rhythmical whirl of emotion, causing a crimson tinge to rise on her lily-white cheeks. The dark depths of her eyes catch the gold of the rising morning sun. The time for the execution of this tune is morning.
'The wild deer venture within the sacred precincts of the temple in meek submission and adoration, completely fascinated and subdued by so glorious a picture and such thrilling music.
'N.B. - Certain tunes attract certain animals in nature. The Todi is always associated with the deer whom it subjugates.'
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.229-30, reproduced p.229