We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Kamala Kamini nursing a baby elephant

1880-1899

Artist

Kalighat style

India

circa 1830 - 1930

  • Details

    Other Title
    Kamala Kaminy, a form of the Goddess Durga or Chandi with Ganesh
    Place where the work was made
    Kalighat Kolkata (Calcutta) West Bengal India
    Date
    1880-1899
    Media categories
    Painting , Watercolour
    Materials used
    watercolour with silver paint on paper
    Dimensions
    44.2 x 27.2 cm (irreg.)
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Purchased 1959
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    EP5.1959
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Kalighat style

    Works in the collection

    6

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  • About

    Images such as this are known as Kalighat paintings, after the famous Kalighat temple in Kolkata (Calcutta) dedicated to Kali, the fearsome goddess of time and death. From around 1830, distinctive, quickly painted souvenirs were produced
    in large numbers for visitors who flocked to the temple. The images were intended to aid domestic worship and typically illustrate Hindu deities. Later, mass-produced prints replaced Kalighat paintings.

    Paintings of goddesses were a favourite subject among Khaligat customers and their composition is often similar due to the need to produce pictures quickly and cheaply. Here is a painting of the goddess Kamala Kamini who is said to be an incarnation of the fearsome goddess Durga.Durga is usually depicted slaughtering the buffalo demon, Mahisasura, but here she is seated on a lotus leaf and accompanied by a baby elephant. In some stories, Kamala Kamini, Durga is the mother of Ganesha, while in others the connection between the goddess and the elephant symbolises an
    abundance of rain.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

    • Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, 'Unexpected Connections: An Australian Kalighat Album Reunited', pg. 4-5, Sydney, Mar 2006.

    • Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, "Postscript: Kalighat's Missionaries', pg. 23, Sydney, Dec 2006.

    • Kate Brittlebank, Journal of the History of Collections, 'Anthropology, fine art and missionaries: The Berndt Kalighat album rediscovered', pg.127-142, Oxford, May 2008.

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