What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

painting / album

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1884,0913,0.16

  • Description

    Opaque watercolour painting on European paper of a Kavati-bearer and his wife. The couple are on their way to Palani: he is dressed in green, the colour worn by pilgrims visiting the sites sacred to Subrahmanya. The man, in trousers and a yellow sash worn across the chest and tied around the waist, and with a tall green and red cap, carries on his shoulder a wooden kavati decorated with peacock feathers. His forehead, throat, arms and chest are decorated with tripundras (three horizontal lines). His wife, dressed in an elaborately draped sari, carries a cloth bundle on her head, and a cloth bag hangs from her left shoulder. Both of them wear a number of earrings in the helix and lobes of their ears as well as necklaces and bracelets of various designs. The wooden ends of the kavati are carefully rendered: they bear carved images of Gaṇeśa and a goddess, probably Lakṣmī. Generally, however, kavatis bear the images of Gaṇeśa and Subrahmanya.

    More 

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1830-1835 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 18.2 centimetres
    • Width: 11.3 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Dallapiccola 2010:
    This painting is part of a set of ninety-two drawings depicting various Indian castes and occupations. An explanatory caption in English, written in a flowing early nineteenth-century hand, accompanies the majority of the drawings. Their repertoire covers a vast range of castes from the Telugu Brahmins to the Boyis and occupations from the astrologer to the jailer, interspersed with a colourful array of religious mendicants, acrobats and musicians. Of particular interest is a drawing of a private soldier (1884,0913,0.74), of the Private Grenadier Company of the 1st Madras Native Infantry, dressed in a uniform of the early 1820s, which helps to date the album to the early decades of the nineteenth century. This date is confirmed by the presence of a portrait of Serfoji II, raja of Thanjavur (r. 1798–1832), and his wife in this volume (1884,0913,0.44). In depicting the faces of his characters the artist consistently uses a ‘miniaturist technique’, i.e. minute dots of colour; the chin, forehead and nose areas are lightly shaded to suggest plasticity. The rendering of textiles, costumes and jewellery reveals a documentary precision and care for detail. The figures are slender and elegant rather than imposing, and the background is no longer monochrome: either the paper is left plain or in some cases a line of trees and shrubs dots the line of the horizon. The foreground is sometimes green, suggesting perhaps a meadow, or a very pale brownish wash but most frequently a dark, heavy looped shadow is attached to the feet of the figures.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Dallapiccola 2010 cat.15.1 bibliographic details
  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    3 December 2010

    Treatment proposal

    Provide custom-made archival box for storage

    Condition

    In good condition but requires protection from phsyical damage, dust atmospheric pollutants and light during storage.

    Treatment details

    The album of 91drawings was housed in a custom-made box. Which consisted of of an inner envelope of Manilla 225 gsm paper and an outer box constructed using Boxboard and Filmoplast T 6472. The envelope and box were adhered to each other with double-sided tape and cotton ties were attached using Culminal (non ionic cellulose ether)

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1884

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1884,0913,0.16

Painting. Portrait. A palanquin-bearer and his wife. Painted on paper.

Painting. Portrait. A palanquin-bearer and his wife. Painted on paper.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: RFI517

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...