Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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A commotion in the bazaar

Location

    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.

 

Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    Depictions of the daily life of the streets and bazaars are uncommon in Indian paintings before the British period, only occasionally finding a place in the background of some mythological scene with an urban setting. This damaged but lively and enigmatic picture is an exception. It was painted in the Punjab Hills around the middle of the 18th century, when a fresh assimilation of the naturalistic elements of the contemporary Mughal style followed the arrival of artists fleeing the uncertain political conditions of the Plains. It shows some elements of the style practiced by Nainsukh, the best known member of a widely influential family of Pahari artists.

    The artist’s observation of gesture and attitude is keen and revealing. In the centre of the picture a miscreant is being beaten over the head with slippers by two armed officers, while in the foreground another is lead away with hands tied and a slipper held humiliatingly over his head. As always in India, a small crowd gathers to watch the spectacle, while other figures go about their business. To the right, two boys choose sweets at a sweet shop. To the left, a husband buys a knife or jewellery from a display laid out on a cloth. In the foreground, two boys dance to music of a shehnai and drum, while a Kānphata yogi sits tranquilly before a linga shrine to the god Śiva.

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