- Museum number
Gouache painting on paper from a portfolio of sixty-three paintings of deities and daily life. Under the gaze of Prahlada, depicted as a dark, diminutive figure with protruding fangs, Ugra Narasimha bursts forth from a pillar whose two halves are neatly arranged in a V-shape, framing the god in the act of disembowelling Hiranyakaśipu. The king, still brandishing his sword and shield, lies supine on Narasimha’s knees. The eight-armed deity carries in his upper right hand the chakra (discus) and in his upper left hand the shankha (conch). Two of his hands lift Hiranyakaśipu’s entrails and drape them over his shoulders while two other hands are burrowing into the king’s stomach. The remaining two hold the king’s neck and hips. Tongues of fire emanate from Narasimha’s head and shoulders.
- Production date
- 1820 (circa)
Height: 26.50 centimetres
Height: 28.80 centimetres
Width: 19 centimetres (size of the image)
Width: 22.20 centimetres (size of the page)
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
Particular care has been lavished on details of Narasimha’s face, such as the bulging eyes, the fierce mouth with sabre-like teeth and lolling tongue, and the curly mane around his face.
The portfolio consists of sixty-three paintings on loose sheets of paper. The series includes images of deities, mendicants and ritual scenes such as a wedding and cremation. Executed on European laid and water-marked paper, with the date 1816 appearing on one sheet, the paintings must have been produced in the immediately following years, c. 1820. There is much use of gold paint and brilliant colours, which is still bright, evidence of the portfolio having been kept closed for long periods since its creation.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 Aug 4 – Nov 15, China, Shanghai Museum, ‘India: The Art of the Temple’
- basically good, but torn and bumped at edges; some staining including top left, where a sale sticker has come adrift
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Formerly in the possession of Edward Moodie's maternal great-uncle, Rupert Richardson-Gardner, who worked in India in the 1930s. However, given the presence of auction room stickers on several of the paintings (one provides the date of the sale – June 15th 1977), it is more likely that the portfolio was acquired by him during his post-war career in Christie’s (he was a specialist in carpets and rugs, but, given his previous career in India, he probably maintained an interest in things Indian which he saw passing through the sale-rooms).
- Registration number