Hindola raga by Unknown

Ragamala paintings are pages from a garland (mala) of visual melodies (ragas). Each page visualizes a particular mode (five or more musical tones), and is frequently accompanied by a brief inscription or poem that suggests the time of day, season and even mood of the raga.

The transformation of expression from music, through poetry to painting was a gradual one, most likely stimulated by the invention of paper. Medieval musicians would associate each raga or mode with a deity and name it, perhaps as a means of memorizing a melody. Intrigued poets of the late medieval period then personified these ragas and elaborated their tales in vivid verbal imagery. These stories along with other influential musical texts provided the poetic source for ragamala painting. [source: What is Ragamala?]
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