Lined along the eaves, the top of the marble lattice railing, and the rims of the boats on the river are candles and butter lamps lit in celebration of a New Year festival. A noble lady on a golden armchair lights sparklers with her friends. She and the woman before her hold two unlit sparklers for continued revelry. Three unseen figures set off sparklers in the lower right. In the boats and on the far shore men set off sparklers under the light of a magnificent firework display under the full moon.
The style of this painting is typical of Mughal painting from the mid-1700s, when scenes of domestic life among women of the court were a favorite subject for the imperial artists. By 1760, imperial artists were also working for ministers and governors who took them to their home provinces, such as Lucknow, about 300 miles east of the Mughal capital at Delhi.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art.