Brahmin scribe - 2014.48.1.4_1_2015festaff


Brahmin scribe

Maker: unknown artist
Medium:Painted terracotta with fabric and wood
Geography: Poona area, Maharashtra, India
Date: c. 1870
Period: Late 19th century
Ht. 5.25 x Wt. 1.8 cm
Object number: 2014.48.1.4
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Robert Franklin
Not on view

Figures such as this one were produced in the mid-19th century in Krishnanagar, Lucknow and Poona. Depicting various occupations or types in India that a European might come into contact with, these figures were produced for a tourist clientele who would buy them as souvenirs of their visit to India. Distinguished by their realistic modeling, application of real hair and precise costumes, these figures became an art form in themselves, winning awards at annual exhibitions.

European interest in the exotic, combined with the expansion of British colonialism, led to the representation of South Asia in many media. These included paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, figurines and architectural models produced by both European and Indian artists. Many of these objects were displayed at annual exhibitions and world fairs in the late 19th century. These exhibitions, in turn, led to the formation of collections of South Asian art in western museums during the same period. The acquisition and study of such art objects enabled colonial governments to gather knowledge about the region and helped them maintain power over a large and diverse population. Despite their seemingly realistic appearance, these objects conveyed stereotypes and misconceptions about South Asian culture, many of which, unfortunately, still persist.

South Asia
If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.