Surrounded by richly dressed guests and lavish architecture, a female ascetic sits demurely in a plain gown and patchwork cloak. Her matted hair hangs down in long tresses and is smeared with ashes. Her knees are caught up in a yogapatta, or meditation band. She is clearly a Saiva devotee—followers of Saivism, one of the four main Hindu sects, believe that the god Shiva is the supreme being—as she wears the sect’s mark on her forehead. She is receiving a princely visitor, the gentleman seated next to her, smoking a hookah. In front of the seated pair are three elegantly dressed Hindu ladies and a child bearing offerings. Opposite them is a fourth richly dressed lady, leaning on a swing with her hair fastened by a bandeau, which indicates that she is on the path to becoming a yogini, a powerful female ascetic. Female yoginis were popular subjects in Deccan painting, one of the major schools of painting in the Islamic royal courts of central and south India.
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2013," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 73 (2014): p. 37-64.