Illustration to a proverb: the philandering Babu and the musk rat at a party. Watercolour drawing, c. 1870.

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The elegantly attired Babu holds a rose in one hand and uses a walking stick in the other indicating that he is off to see a courtesan. The exaggerated black moth or bat indicates that his liaison is shady. The rodents on their curtained stage have gone haywire in his absence. The Babu's clothing suggest a flashy dandy, but his house since its neglect is only fit for rodents



Physical description

1 drawing : pencil, with watercolour and silver


Kalighat painting is a school of painting in Kalighat, a small district in Calcutta. It is named after the celebrated Hindu goddess Kali. Kalighat painting originated from the folkart tradition of rural Bengal. The Patuas or picture makers had migrated from Bengal in the early nineteenth century. There are a range of subjects from religious imagery of Hindu gods, goddesses and stories to natural history, social types and proverbs. The range of materials used in drawing are pencil, watercolour, indian ink and silver paint


Wellcome Collection 26861i


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