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Scroll painting

  • Place of origin:

    West Bengal (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in gouache on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 1

Physical description

Scroll painting, in gouache on paper, the episodes shown on this piece include a lady being carried in a palanquin; the same lady lying on a couch guarded by tigers; the palanquin-bearers visiting a prince in a palace; a lady resting with her new-born child; Brahmins and a dervish. The scroll is divided into ten panels separated by horizontal, scrolling floral borders, the exterior borders containing separate formal vase and plant motifs.

Place of Origin

West Bengal (made)


ca. 1800 (painted)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in gouache on paper


Height: 191.2 cm, Width: 35.6 cm, Height: 208.5 cm in modern frame, Width: 53 cm in modern frame, Depth: 4.5 cm modern frame

Descriptive line

Scroll painting, scenes from a Bengali legend, by a member of the Patua caste, West Bengal, ca. 1800

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

Cover illustration and p.42
Arts of Bengal : the heritage of Bangladesh and eastern India : an exhibition organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum : 9 November-30 December 1979, Whitechapel Art Gallery ..., 12 January-17 February 1980, Manchester City Art Gallery ... . [London]: Whitechapel Art Gallery, [1979] Number: 085488047X (pbk.) :
p. 93, cat. no. 79
Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.

Labels and date

By an unknown member of the Patua community
Opaque watercolour on paper
Possibly Gankar village, Raghunathganj, Murshidabad District, West Bengal, c. 1800
From the collection of J.C. French. Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund
Although the legends depicted in this fragmentary scroll painting have not been identified, it may have belonged to a pata showing the lives of
the Bengali Muslim pirs or saints, including Gazi and Manik. The artists who made it would have acted as travelling storytellers and shown the pata, or scroll, scene by scene to their audience. In the illustrations, a heroine is carried in a palanquin to give birth in a place of refuge in the forest, where she is guarded by tigers and snakes. In a lower scene, a pir approaches two Hindu Brahmans. A violent encounter ensues. At the bottom, priests worship Vishnu. [01/08/2017]


Gouache; Paper; Paint



Subjects depicted

Couch; Dog (animal); Tiger (animal); Woman; Brahmins; Palace; Snake (animal)


Paintings; Myths & Legends; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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