Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case MB2B, Box DW4

Hindoo Gods

Wallpaper
1880-1890 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Paper printed with patterns has been used to decorate walls since the 16th century. However, the many Europeans living in India in the 19th century found it impractical to introduce the fashion for wallpaper there as the climate was not suitable. The heat and humidity caused the paper to peel away from the wall after a short time, and it would also become infested with insects. It seems likely, therefore, that these wallpaper panels were produced to be used as temporary decorations, perhaps for religious festivals.

Subjects Depicted
This scene appears to have been copied from a 19th-century south Indian painting. It combines elements of European design (the chandeliers) with decorative features (the arch) characteristic of Indian art of the Mughal period (1526-1857). The figures depicted in this panel and others in the series are all characters from Hindu mythology. The god Vishnu (the Preserver) is seen reclining on the serpent Ananta, on the waters of Nara; Brahma (the Creator in the Hindu pantheon) appears in a lotus flower which rises from Vishnu's navel. Vishnu's sleep on the eternal waters symbolises the dormant periods between the ages of the universe. Brahma's reappearance signals his re-creation of the universe to begin a new age.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleWallpaper (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Colour machine print, on paper
Brief Description
Portion of paper from the series entitled 'Hindoo Gods'; Colour machine print, on paper; Produced by Allan, Cockshut & Co., London, for the Indian market; English; 1880-1890.
Physical Description
Portion of paper from the series entitled 'Hindoo Gods'; Colour machine print, on paper.
Dimensions
  • Portion height: 67.3cm
  • Portion width: 51.5cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 10/10/2000 by PaperCons
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This wallpaper panel was printed in Britain for the Indian market. It was probably a temporary decoration for festivals as it takes the form of a pictorial panel with an integral printed border, rather than a repeating pattern.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by the Wallpaper Manufacturers
Object history
Produced by Allan, Cockshut & Co., London, for the Indian market.
Production
Produced by Allan, Cockshut & Co. for the Indian market.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
Paper printed with patterns has been used to decorate walls since the 16th century. However, the many Europeans living in India in the 19th century found it impractical to introduce the fashion for wallpaper there as the climate was not suitable. The heat and humidity caused the paper to peel away from the wall after a short time, and it would also become infested with insects. It seems likely, therefore, that these wallpaper panels were produced to be used as temporary decorations, perhaps for religious festivals.

Subjects Depicted
This scene appears to have been copied from a 19th-century south Indian painting. It combines elements of European design (the chandeliers) with decorative features (the arch) characteristic of Indian art of the Mughal period (1526-1857). The figures depicted in this panel and others in the series are all characters from Hindu mythology. The god Vishnu (the Preserver) is seen reclining on the serpent Ananta, on the waters of Nara; Brahma (the Creator in the Hindu pantheon) appears in a lotus flower which rises from Vishnu's navel. Vishnu's sleep on the eternal waters symbolises the dormant periods between the ages of the universe. Brahma's reappearance signals his re-creation of the universe to begin a new age.
Bibliographic References
  • Oman, Charles C., and Hamilton, Jean. Wallpapers: a history and illustrated catalogue of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Publications, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982.
  • Saunders, Gill. Wallpaper in Interior Decoration. V&A Publications. London. 2002. pp. 19-20.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design & Department of Paintings Accessions 1934 London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1935
Collection
Accession Number
E.1821-1934

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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