Mica painting of the Hook Ceremony, Bengal. probably mid 19th century
The mica painting, 7½ a 5½ ins, shows a festival in Bengal and was probably painted by an artist from Patna or Murshidabad. The very crowded scene shows the huge popularity of these events, part religious in significance and partly having the appeal of the fairground. The artist shows the wide appeal of the event by including a large, covered palanquin indicating a wealthy onlooker. The two Sepoys in the centre of the crowd are other interesting characters. Although not of the very finest quality it is a more unusual subject than is usually found and has the merit that the paint is largely undamaged. It is taped at the corners to a modern piece of card for use in a window mount. There is a little damage to the mica at the corners and a stained or damaged area above the central pole. However the painted areas are much better than usually found with just a little loss of colour to the lower halves of the Sepoys. oct7/4
This type of painting on mica became very popular in the later Company period and the medium particularly enhanced the bright colours of the subjects. The commonest to be found are sets of individuals showing various local crafts and others showing the range of Indian servants to be found in the smart household. These larger examples with numerous figures would have been more expensive and therefore are loss commonly encountered.They were very popular items to be taken ‘home’ with departing families or sent to show relatives something of life in far off India.
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