Sep 6, 2017
Mar 24, 2014
Sep 6, 2017

A Couple (from the series Costumes and Professions)

A Couple (from the series Costumes and Professions)


Ink, color and gold on paper

Overall: 24.1 x 19.9 cm (9 1/2 x 7 13/16 in.)

Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2001.164



This work was made by Indian artists for a member
of the British East India Company. It was painted
in the southern style of Company school painting,
which is distinguished by its bold outlines,
saturated color, and heavy application of gold.
The priest on the right bears the sectarian markings
of a follower of the Hindu god Vishnu on his
forehead, chest, arms, and flag. A 19th-century
British inscription on its surviving fly sheet, a
protective cover of tissue paper, states that this
priest made his living by praying to the “native
doorway” early every morning. The survival of this
commentary reveals how British collectors used
these apparently objective depictions of costumes
and professions to implicate Indian holy men in
strange or even charlatan behavior.

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