Ink and gouache on paper
Overall: 17.2 x 12.7 cm (6 3/4 x 5 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Ward 1982.119
A page from a book of paintings that would have
included images of various entertainments in India,
this painting is rendered in a European style for
British consumption. The label Juggler is written
in a Victorian-era hand in the margin below. The
main figure is seated on the ground with his knees
drawn tightly up under his chin, reinforcing a
Western stereotype that all Indian people can do
physical feats with their bodies, like yogis. On
display are his talents of manipulating balls on a
two-stringed bow, called “juggling” by the British
owner of the painting for lack of a better moniker.
His performance was intended to create a spectacle
for entertainment and income. This painting would
have been made for sale too, in the new economy
under British dominance in which Indian artists
made documentary pictures for foreign overlords.
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