Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

20th Century CE
Gift of Angela and Ernst Misha Jucker

Dattatreya is a composite figure combining the three gods of the Hindu trinity into a single three-headed deity. Dattatreya carries the characteristic insingnia of Vishnu (conch and discus), Shiva (trident) and Brahman (begging bowl and rosary). He is accompanied by 4 dogs, who represent the four Vedas and a bull. His cult was primarily located in the Western regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka.


Baramasa Set - Month of Kartika
Rajasthani, Bundi
Late 18th century CE
35.5 x 24.3 cm

Hindu month of Kartika. The poet Keshavdas says that

Woods and gardens, rivers, earth and sky are clear and shining bright illuminated by lamps (of Dipavali festival). The days and nights are full of joy, and couples are gambling. The courtyards and walls of every house are gay with colourful paintings of gods and goddesses. The whole universe is pervaded with celestial light and all men and women are gay with love. This is the month for earning merit by sacred baths, giving alms and worship of God.

'Baramasa' or 'Songs of the twelve months' is a poetic genre that describes each of the months of the Indian calendar in terms of love and its rhetoric. The most famous one is Keshavdasa’s Kavipriya which mirrors his mastery of the selection of words and phrases and describes the life, ceremonies and rituals of the people in different seasons. It is a popular subject in Bundi School as it gives the artists an opportunity to indulge in his love for landscape.


Early 21st century CE
Gift of Smt. Rekha Naik in memory of Late Dr. Deepak Srinivas Naik

Devi or the great goddess is the divine feminine aspect which is being worshipped by Indians throughout the ages. She is worshipped in both benevolent and ferocious form and known by various names like Uma, Gauri, Parvati, Jagadamba, Bhairavi, Durga, Kali, Chandi, Bhavani, Chamunda and so on. Her worship symbolizes the acceptance of the female energy.

Since prehistoric times the female energy is worshipped as a giver of life and fertility. Indus Valley sites (2600- 1900 BCE) have yielded a large number of female clay figurines which are probably of mother goddesses.

During the Gupta period (320- 647 CE) the worship of the Great Goddesses gained popularity. By this time the text- 'Devi Mahatmya' glorifying Devi was composed. Devi Mahatmya considers that Devi represents all the three aspects – prakriti (creation), maya (illusion) and shakti (power). She creates, pervades and sustains the Universe. Shakti here is not a consort of male deity but rather she is a universal phenomenon, the sole reality.

The goddess is worshipped in her benign (Saumya) and ferocious (Ugra) forms . In her ferocious form she is the slayer of demons like Madhu-Kaitabh, Mahishasura, Shumbha, Nishumbha. She has several manifestations that are dreadful, dangerous and bloodthirsty.

Sawai Madhavrao Worshipping Ganesha

Sawai Madhavrao Worshipping Ganesha
Gouache on paper
Deccani, Satara
Dated 1854 AD
31.2 x 23 cm

All Hindu ceremonies commence with an invocation to Ganesha. In Maharashtra, to which area this painting belongs, he is specially worshipped in Hindu month of Bhadrapada coinciding generally with September. Clay images of Ganesha are installed and worshipped for five, seven, ten or eleven days after which they are taken in a procession and immersed in the river or sea.

Sawai Madhavrao (1774 – 1795 AD), Peshwa of the Maratha chief of the Deccan and an ardent Devotee of Ganesha is seen offering worship to his tutelary deity.

Silk with Jari

Silk with jari
Chander, Madhya Pradesh
Early 20th Century
Gift of Smt. Kalpana Vora

This unique specially commissioned sari expresses the feeling of patriotism of its wearer. It has star-shaped buttis woven all over the ground in silver and golden jari. The slogan Vande Mataram is woven in green and maroon resham (silk thread) on the buttis and also all along the border.

This revolutionary song was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1882. It soon became an inspirational slogan for freedom fighters. The song was first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. It became a national song of the independent India in 1950.


Acc No 55.78/2
Ragini Meghmalhar
Ragamala Set
Rajasthani, Kotah
Late 18th Century CE

Ragamala paintings depict Ragas’ respective personified form or presiding deified form conceived by traditional musicians and poets. These paintings were created in albums containing most often 36 or 42 folios, organized in a system of ‘families’ consisting of a male Raga as its head and 5 or 6 Raginis (wives), sometimes many Ragaputras (sons) and Ragaputris (daughters) and even Putravadhus (daughters-in-law).

Bundi and Kotah artists have been prolific in the creation of the Baramasa and Ragamala series of paintings and have adopted very similar compositions for each of themes.

This painting has Krishna, dressed in red and gold, holding a veena in his left hand and dancing in the centre. He faces a female figure to the left who is playing on a pair of cymbals. To the right is a woman playing mridanga.