The Zenana

Women’s quarters and their contributions

Women of the Zenana Watch a Dance Performance with Bakhat Singh, ca. 1736

The exhibition explores the role of royal women in the Rathore court. Paintings, carpets, textiles, and jewelry evoke the setting of a royal zenana, the women’s wing of a Rathore palace. The zenana is a hub of language, exchange, and culture led by the women of the court. They played a crucial role as agents of cultural change and patrons of the arts, preserving cultural traditions of festivals and dress throughout the centuries. Among the furnishings shown in this section is an exceptional wood baradari (pavilion). A sequence of paintings emphasize the unique role of women as patrons of festivals that marked the seasons. Today, the zenana still functions but as an open entity. The current queen and princess continue to celebrate traditional festivals with the public of Jodhpur.

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