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Painting - Elokeshi and Madhavchandra Giri (the Mahant)

Elokeshi and Madhavchandra Giri (the Mahant)

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Kolkata (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in watercolour and tin alloy on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.111-1965

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in watercolour and tin alloy on paper, the head priest or Mahant of the Shaivite shrine at Tarakeshwar, standing next to Elokeshi who is seated on a chair, dressed in a bright red sari. Wearing a white pleated dhoti against yellow flesh tones, the priest offers the barren wife a glass of 'childbirth medicine' with a view to drugging her before raping her.

Place of Origin

Kolkata (made)

Date

ca. 1880 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Painted in watercolour and tin alloy on paper

Dimensions

Height: 448 mm, Width: 280 mm maximum

Object history note

The Tarakeshwar murder case of 1873 was a public scandal in Calcutta based on an affair between Elokeshi the young attractive wife of Nabinchandra Banerji and the mahant or chief priest of the Shiva temple at Tarakeshwar. Upon discovery of the affair, on 27 May 1873 her jealous husband Nabinchandra Banerji cut Elokeshi's throat with a fish knife. In the trial that followed Nabin was sentenced to life imprisonment and the Mahant was fined and imprisoned for 3 years. Different variations of this affair favouring the various characters occur in several Bengali plays and Kalighat images between 1875-80.

Historical significance: Calcutta was the capital of British India from 1833-1912. By the 1830s, artists had arrived from rural villages in Bengal and began to produce paintings that reflected local history, mythology, customs and conflicts of a colonised society. As a popular art form, these artists are recognised for their use of brilliant colour, simplified images and swift brushstrokes that became the hallmark of Kalighat painting in the 19th and early 20th century.

Descriptive line

Painting, the Mahant plies Elokeshi with medicine, watercolour and tin alloy on paper, Kalighat, Kolkata, ca. 1880

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

Jain, J (1999) 'Kalight Painting : Images form a Changing World' Ahmedabad, Mapin Publishing, p129, fig 120.

p.83
Sinha, Suhashini, and Panda, C, eds. Kalighat Paintings from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012. ISBN 1851776656.
pl. 30, cat. no. 17, xi: p.61.
Kalighat paintings : a catalogue and introduction / by W.G. Archer. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1971 Number: 0112900291 :

Materials

Watercolour; Paint; Tin alloy; Paper

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Shrine; Priest; Woman

Categories

Paintings; Folk Art; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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