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Maker(s):Gauri Chitrakar
Culture:Indian; Bengali (active 1980's)
Title:Shiva and Parvati
Date Made:1980
Materials:watercolor on paper with cloth backing
Place Made:Asia; India; West Bengal; West Bengal: Midnapur
Measurements:Overall: 29 1/8 in x 21 1/4 in; 74 cm x 54 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2017.17
Credit Line:Gift of Georgana Falb Foster
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
In this family portrait, the Hindu god Shiva, his wife Parvati, and their elephant-headed son Ganesha sit astride the bull Nandi, Shiva’s vahana (mount). Parvati’s vahana, the tiger, appears on the steps below them. The elaborate, multi-story dais recalls temporary structures known as pandals,, which house images of the gods and goddesses during the annual celebrations that take place across eastern India and beyond.

Although Gauri Chitrakar completed this work in 1980, she drew on earlier traditions of pata (narrative scroll) painting from the larger cultural region of Bengal. The single-sheet paintings produced by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century patuas (itinerant artist-storytellers) for sale to pilgrims at the famous Kalighat Kali Temple, located in southern Calcutta (Kolkata), were another likely inspiration.

Hinduism; religion; deities; animals; cows; elephants; narrative; lion; symbolism; cloth; painting

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