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Painting - Tamil female water carrier

Tamil female water carrier

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Madras (possibly , made)
    Tanjore (possibly , made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780 - ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Mrs. Todd Naylor

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

One of eight paintings in a set supporting the oral tradition that artists from the Deccan went to work in Madras and Tanjore and began to make sets of types and castes which were the prototypes for Tanjore paintings for the British. This one of a Tamil female water carrier with a lota on her shoulder. She wears a sari with no upper garment as was customary in south India until recent times. Green background.

Place of Origin

Madras (possibly , made)
Tanjore (possibly , made)


ca. 1780 - ca. 1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gouache on paper


Height: 18.5 cm, Width: 10 cm

Historical context note

The lota, a traditional Indian water jug, is used as a general term for water containers but there are also regional names for different types of pots. The basic design of the lota was adapted to perform many related functions: holding, carrying, and pouring water. The form, decoration, size and material reflect the function of the pot, the geographical area in which it was produced and the status of the people for whom it was made. The shape itself is derived from natural forms such as the gourd and the melon. Different types of pots are used to carry water from the well for everyday use, to store water, to drink water from and for daily ablutions. They are also used as containers for sacred water or water that is to be used for ritual purposes.

Descriptive line

Painting; gouache, Tamil female water carrier, Madras or Tanjore, ca. 1780 - ca. 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


Gouache; Paper



Subjects depicted



Paintings; Indian Company Paintings


South & South East Asia Collection

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