- Museum number
Gouache painting on paper from a portfolio of sixty-three paintings of deities and daily life. This painting shows the innermost core of the Shri Ranganatha temple on Srirangam Island. Beneath a domed structure supported by decorated pillars, the image of Ranganatha (a from of Viṣṇu) reclines on his right side on the coils of the seven hooded Shesha. His right hand is flexed beneath his head resting on a bolster, and his left arm hangs loosely at his side. He wears a dhoti, an angavastra (shawl) draped over his elbows and ornaments. The four headed Brahma sits on a lotus originating somewhere behind the Ranganatha image. At the feet of the deity, Vibhishana, of dark colour with a knobbly nose and side fangs, performs puja, throwing flowers on the reclining image. Opposite the reclining Ranganatha is the processional image of Alagiyamanavala, standing in an ornate metal frame. In its upper right hand is the chakra (discus), in its upper left the shankha (conch), its lower right hand is in abhaya mudra and its lower left rests on the gada (mace). To the left and right of the image are the two consorts of Ranganatha, each seated on a throne in European fashion, feet down. In a niche on the dome of the building is the image of Paravasudeva. The dvarapalas, who would normally be placed at the entrance of the shrine, have been accommodated here in niches on either side of the dome. At the left corner of the page is the small shrine dedicated to Ranganayaki and on the right is the oval tank, the Chandra pushkarini, near which are the sacred tree and the Kṛṣṇa shrine.
- Production date
- 1820 (circa)
Height: 29.20 centimetres
Width: 22.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
The depiction of Brahma in this painting however, is artistic licence, as there is no Brahma near the actual image enshrined in the sanctuary.
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
2007 9 Aug-11 Nov, London, BM, Faith, Narrative and Desire: Masterpieces of Indian Painting in the British Museum.
2010 Aug 4- Nov 15, China, Shanghai Museum, ‘India: The Art of the Temple’
- 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