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Painting - Sati ceremony

Sati ceremony

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Thanjavur (made)
    Tanjore (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (painted)
    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The pictures made by Indian artists for the British in India are called Company paintings. This one depicts the practice of sati (suttee) or widow-burning. The word is the Sanskrit for 'good woman' or 'true wife'. It was applied to the Hindu widow who makes the supreme sacrifice by following her husband onto the funeral pyre. Although suppressed in the 19th century, isolated instances of sati still occur in India even today.

Physical description

Sati ceremony: self-immolation of a Hindu widow, with men and women mourning by a river. One of ten paintings depicting festivals.

Place of Origin

Thanjavur (made)
Tanjore (made)


ca. 1800 (painted)
ca. 1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Women fallen in fire on account of the Husband Dead
Inscription; decoration; English; Roman


Height: 43 cm, Width: 59 cm, Length: 43 cm

Descriptive line

Painting; gouache, Sati Ceremony, Tanjore, 1800

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period
Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992, 54 p. ISBN 0944142303


Paper; Opaque watercolour; Gouache



Subjects depicted

Mourning; Rivers; Sati


Indian Company Paintings; Paintings


South & South East Asia Collection

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