Collection Online

Dewali celebrations at Kotah
(c. 1690)

opaque watercolour and gold paint on paper
48.2 × 43.8 cm (image)
Place/s of Execution
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Accession Number
Asian Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1980
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display

This view of a celebration in a Rajput palace is one of the earliest examples of the genre of tamasha paintings, panoramas describing scenes of court life, that blossomed in the early 18th century. The location of the palace, probably at Bundi or Kotah, and the identification of the celebration are uncertain. The festivities may represent Dewali, the New Year Festival of Lights devoted to Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth and Good Fortune. To secure luck for the coming year the Goddess is worshipped at her shrine, and the light from fireworks and oil lamps symbolises the victory of the forces of light over the forces of darkness.