PADMINI II
2005

acrylics, 23 carat gold leaf and silver leaf, copper powders and copper-gilded dried leaves on handmade thai paper
45 x 73 cm

admini was a XIV° century Hindu queen of Chittor, in Mewar.

One day, word of her breathtaking beauty came to the ears of the powerful sultan of Delhi, Ala-ud-din Khilji, and he decided to add her to his harem. He went to Chittor and demanded from king Ratna Singh to see his wife, whose beauty was known far and wide.

Padmini, knowing the ill repute of the sultan, refused. However, under threat of war against Chittor, she finally consented to allow Ala-ud-din to see her reflection in a mirror. Struck by her beauty, the sultan treacherously abducted king Ratna Singh and demanded that Padmini be given to him in exchange for the king’s freedom.

Using a subterfuge, some of the king’s men succeeded in freeing him, but the sultan’s rage was such that he declared war on Chittor. In the great battle that followed, 60 000 Hindus were killed, including king Ratna Singh.

Upon hearing the deaths of their men, the ladies decided to save their honor by committing suicide rather than be captured by the sultan. They built a huge pyre, and led by queen Padmini, the women of Chittor jumped into the flames.

To this day, Padmini is remembered as an example of valour and honor by women all over India.