1st Series. India. Portfolio of six color woodcuts published by Shuzaburo Watanabe, Tokyo, in 1916.
Charles W. Bartlett
British, 1860 - 1940
Color woodblock print
Image: 11 13/16 x 8 13/16 in. (30 x 22.4 cm) Sheet: 13 7/16 x 10 1/8 in. (34.1 x 25.7 cm)
Gift of Anna Rice Cooke, 1927 (5391) Conservation treatment supported by David Dolan in honor of Charles W. Bartlett and his family.
This print depicts an entrance to the Meenakashi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai (Madura), in the southern province of Tamil Nadu. This temple, built in the seventeenth century, is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva (incarnated as Sundareswarar) and his consort Parvati (incarnated as Meenakashi). One of the most important examples of southern Indian sacred architecture, Bartlett was especially intrigued by this temple, and in addition to this print did several watercolors of the subject, two of which are on display nearby. However, in typical fashion Bartlett chose not to focus on the architecture of this impressive monument as his main subject, but rather to use it as a background for human activity. In this case, the primary subject of the composition is a group of textile sellers, as noted by Bartlett's comment in his sketchbook: "Entrance to an ancient palace used by Hindu merchants for displaying their wares. Gay cottons are being displayed." (2009)