Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : Men with Fireworks

Men with Fireworks

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Mewar Region, India, Asia

c. 1730-1740

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 9 1/16 × 9 1/2 inches (23 × 24.1 cm) Sheet: 9 13/16 × 10 inches (24.9 × 25.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004

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Men dressed as laborers race about a dark ground, swirling wands of gold-sparking fireworks to create a dazzling pattern. In India, fireworks are most popularly set off during Diwali, the festival of lights that celebrates the end of the rainy season and honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In the eighteenth century, fireworks were also used to control temperamental elephants. Whatever the subject, the small square shape of this painting is unusual; it was most likely cut from a larger composition.