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A Woman Cooking; Detail of Earrings

Artist/maker unknown, Pakistani

Made in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, Asia

19th century

Watercolor on paper

Sheet: 9 1/4 × 7 7/16 inches (23.5 × 18.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Dean Walker, 2006

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This preparatory sketch belongs to the Indian “Company Painting” tradition, in which artists depicted scenes of domestic life for European patrons. The detail of an earring at the top of the page highlights the components of the same earring worn by the cook, who sits on a low chair as she tends the fire in the earthen hearth. Jewelry was and is still used as a sort of currency as well as an insurance policy at all levels of society; this woman wears her wealth in gold, gems, and silver for safekeeping.