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Yogini with Mynah

Like a yogic renouncer devoted to the Hindu deity Shiva, this yogini has ash-covered skin and wears her matted locks in a topknot. The significance of the mynah bird remains a mystery.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Yogini with Mynah

Surrounded by surreally surging hillocks and hugely blooming flowers, a yogini stands quite still, almost spellbound, though her gold sashes furl and the delicate tendrils of hair around her tilted head quiver. Impossibly elongated, she has the ash-covered skin and the dreadlock (jata) topknot of female ascetics associated with the deity Shiva. The visionary painting was created at the Islamic court of Bijapur, where yoginis were understood as agents of supernatural power.

Yogini with Mynah
India, Karnataka, Bijapur
ca. 1603–4
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin In 11a.31

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