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This image of a woman holding a lamp is one of India’s most iconic paintings. But what makes it so special? Is the woman in the painting an important figure? Did the artist intend to communicate feminine values of 19th century India? What is the story behind it? S.L Haldankar’s Glow of Hope is a painting that has been loved by generations. Visitors literally head to the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery just for a glimpse of this masterpiece alone.  The…

Shubho Mahalaya : celebrating the Glory of the Goddess

Shubho Mahalaya!  As a child growing up with Bengali grandparents, this day meant about waking up to the sound of a booming voice on the radio, narrating a story I couldn’t particularly understand; it also meant, a celebration was coming and that there would be lots of delicious food. As we inch closer to the 9 days of pure fun,…

Art of the Book : Quran & Calligraphy

Tonight is the start of Ramadan, and as our Muslim friends start celebrating, here’s a glimpse into the collection of Quran manuscripts from around the world along with some fascinating objects with calligraphed verses. Discover how the art of the book, and calligraphy evolved. Ramadan Kareem ! Pin It for Later: Read about the smallest, biggest and oldest Quran & see…

In 20-Holi-Pictures: Celebration through the Ages

On the day of Holi, you can always spot two sorts of people. Those who love playing and can’t get enough of colour; and those who watch from their balconies, throwing water & colours at passersby, yet saving their own faces and hair from the ‘gulaal’. I fall into the second category, but no matter which one you fall into,…

mughal christian art

In Pictures: Christian Art in the Mughal Period

The Introduction of Christianity Jesuit missionaries were the first group of Europeans to visit the Mughal court. They initially arrived at the Portuguese colony of Goa in 1542. At the invitation of Akbar (r. 1556-1605), there were altogether three Jesuit missions. The third was headed by Father Jerome Xavier (1549-1617) who arrived in Lahore in 1595 and remained at court…

women diwali fireworks

In Paintings: Diwali & A History of Firecrackers in India

This Diwali, I’m exploring the many paintings that depict the celebration and ethos of Diwali while digging out the history of firecrackers. The use of firecrackers is not new to India. While they originated in China, the crackers soon made their way into India through trade and military contact. The earliest evidence we have of fireworks in India dates back to…

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