Oil on Canvas
Collection of Purna Man Shakya
In Shrestha’s depiction of Rājāmatī, we are transported to a world of enchantment and fascination, where beauty and tradition combine to create an enthralling story. The artwork invites us to appreciate the rich heritage of the Newar community and the enduring legacy of Rājāmatī, which has been immortalized in song and art for all time.
Rājāmatī is a Newar woman of such refined beauty that a complete folk song has been composed in her praise. Her allure is so powerful that the poet/singer desires to die if he cannot be with her.
You can see that Shrestha has painted earrings on her ears. This earring has a flowery gold extension that sits atop her head like a tiny gold bird. One of the earliest forms of decoration is on display as well: the practice of using flowers as part of one’s hairstyle. Rājāmatī wears a flower named “Paṃkhā Swān̐,” which means flower adorned in the shape of fan.
The beauty of Rājāmatī in this artwork is augmented by other factors. In particular, this represents the artist’s conceptual side. Rājāmatī is a Bade or high-class Newar woman. Therefore, her jewelry should also signify her status in the community.
Both the “Śikha:” (gold chain) and the “Bhīmpu Mā:” (coral necklace), two types of traditional jewelry, could be seen around her neck in the painting.