In this idyllic scene, the goddess Parvati offers her husband Shiva a drink, as they enjoy a quiet moment together. Their children, the elephant-headed Ganesha and Skanda, play inside a tent made from the hide of an elephant demon that Shiva had slain. Both parents are clothed in animal skins, the garb of mountain-dwelling ascetics, while Shiva is further adorned with a long necklace of skulls and a snake.
The narrative and iconographical elements of this scene alludes to multiple aspects of Shiva’s character—as lover, family man, destroyer of evil, and supreme practitioner of austerities—but, as is typical of Kangra painting, the overall mood is one of tranquility and domestic harmony.
Kangra was a small Rajput state in the Punjab Hills, which lie at the foot of the Himalaya in the far north of India. From the mid-eighteenth century, artists in this region began to adapt certain features of European painting, as filtered through Mughal painting. That impact is seen here in the naturalistic palette and treatment of forms, especially the animals and tree.
Ewer decorated floral scrolls in fine blue-and-white and a slim handle. The original spout broke off and a silver replacement and lid are later additions.
The shape of this ewer looks back to metalwork models of the Sassanian Empire (based in modern Iran) that were first imported to China in the seventh century. The floral scrolls have their origin in ancient West Asian art, as seen on architecture and carpet.
Face mask embroidered extensively wtih glass beads. Two long panels hang down the front and back of the wearer. Humanoid face at top has two round eye holes allowing the wearer to see, a strip of fabric for nose and open, upturned mouth. Ears are protruding disks attached on either side of the face . Top of the head is covered with small, corklike knobs covered with black cloth. The beadwork is predominantly green, with intricate, scallop-shaped patterns along edge of panels, and vertical, star-like patterns filling center of the panels. Interior of panels is lined with damask.
Stylized images of the elephant abound in the pageantry that surrounded Bamileke kings and men of distinction. The elephant masquerade was danced by members of powerful men’s regulatory societies that oversaw the ritual and judicial affairs of the kingdom. Performed at royal festivals and funerals, these masks honored the authority of leadership and the transcendental forces of the forest.
Round beaded crown with six radiating bands (predominantly green with white, metallic and blue accents) that stem from the central axis upon which the big blue-headed bird sits. Smaller birds perch at the base of the bands. Bottom rim predominantly red with white, metallic and blue accents. Spaces in between vertical bands are filled with yellow feathers or possibly synthetic material.
Yoruba rulers or Obas use this type of head covering for everyday occasions. This vibrant version is a byproduct of creative cross-fertilization in between European and Yoruba royal headgear. The birds adorning the coronet are ubiquitous features of royal crowns, while the general design structure is reminiscent of bejeweled royal British crowns.
A seated king, at the left, holds the hand of a swooning woman who is supported by another woman. The supporting woman looks back at the king.
Derived from the Old Testament story of the Jewish heroine, Esther, Guercino depicts the dramatic moment when Esther enters the king's presence unbidden and faints in distress. Although she is his queen, no one may approach the king without his permission.
The Museum of Art is fortunate to have two preparatory drawings for the Guercino painting of "Esther Before Ahasuerus" (the other is 2008/1.161). In this work, Guercino is exploring the psychological relationships between the principal figures: Ahasuerus, his queen Esther, and one of two attendants who support the queen. Between these two studies, it is possible to examine Guercino's process of arriving at his final composition. This sheet carefully explores the responses of the three figures, concentrating on the gesture of clemency as Ahasuerus reaches out to Esther with both his scepter and, in more personal concern, with his hand.
Beaded, veil fringed, canonical crown; seven long beaded tassles dangle from the bottom rim of the crown; entire surface area is embroidered with multi-colored seed beads; three tiers of colorful faces surround the perimeter; a series of three dimensional birds perch on top of the crown; the largest bird sits on tip and is removable.
Oba’s wear royal crowns on state occasions. Its conical shape emphasizes the Yoruba ruler’s otherworldly presence on earth while subsuming his human identity. A cone—a flattened triangle—acts as a metaphorical device that takes the spirit world of above and channels it downward into the inner space of the ruler’s head. Yoruba philosophy contends that a ruler’s destiny, source or authority, and power all stem from his head. Hence, head beautification and protection are among the most important priorities in Yoruba royal arts.
This is a fine line drawing in pencil on white paper that shows a group of four figures of various ages. One is seated and the others are gathered around her chair, looking out at the viewer. They are dressed in early 19th c. European clothing. The central figure is a mature woman who embraces a young girl at her side. There is a boy and young woman standing behind her.