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Title

Itinerant acrobats


Artist

Company school

India

late 18th century - late 19th century


About

The acrobats are typical of those numerous sets of depictions of castes and occupations so much favoured by European patrons of Indian painters in the early nineteenth century. In this striking image all attention is focused on the woman balancing on top of the pole. Below her, providing a drum roll to intensify the drama of the act is a drummer playing a double-headed drum that's v-shaped lacing is clearly visible. Both women wear the long saris typical of the Maharashtran region of western India; the saris are long enough for women to be able to wind them between their legs, so achieving a pantaloon effect. The style enables the ease of movement necessary in acrobatic routines as illustrated here but also allowed Maratha women to ride astride on horses and fight in various military campaigns in the eighteenth century.

Jim Masselos, 'Dancing to the flute - Music and dance in Indian art', AGNSW, 1997. pg. 248.


Details


Other Titles

The buffet game

Mock fight


Place where the work was made

Thanjavur (Tanjore) Tamil Nadu India


Date

circa 1800


Media categories

Painting , Watercolour


Materials used

opaque watercolour with gold and silver on paper


Dimensions

22.8 x 18.1 cm image; 28.4 x 23.1 cm sheet


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Mr George Sandwith 1957


Location

Not on display


Accession number

9644


Artist information

Company school

Works in the collection

19


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 4 publications

Bibliography


Sonny Eisfeldt, Ann-Charlotte Nilsson Eisfeldt and Richard Magito Brun, Eisfeldt: en surrealistisk familj, Sweden, 2014, 119 (colour illus.).

Jim Masselos, Divine and Courtly Life in Indian Painting, Sydney, 1991. cat.no. 5.9. Work is titled 'Mock fight' in this catalogue.

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Folk Paintings and Souvenir Pictures', Sydney, 2003, 47 (colour illus.).

Pratapaditya Pal, Dancing to the flute: music and dance in Indian art, Sydney, 1997, 248 (colour illus.). cat.no. 154 See 'Further Information' for text.