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Souvenir Painting of a Cat Eating a Fish

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

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

Modern Period

c. 1900

Watercolor on paper

Sheet: 18 1/16 × 10 13/16 inches (45.9 × 27.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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The souvenir paintings made by professional painters at Kalighat depicted religious subjects as well as contemporary life and events. 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.