Souvenir Painting of a Cat Holding a Prawn in Its Mouth

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia

c. 1900

Opaque and transparent watercolor on paper

Sheet: 18 1/8 × 11 inches (46 × 27.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Professional artists working at Kalighat drew inspiration from and offered critiques of contemporary life and events in Calcutta. Although cats are unpopular as pets in India, the image of a cat-usually an orange, spotted one-eating some other animal was a frequent motif in Kalighat painting. It is said to represent a favorite object of ridicule: the hypocritical monk or religious ascetic who, although he has supposedly renounced the world, continues to indulge in pleasures of the flesh.