Company School Mica Painting depicting a Sati (Suttee) ritual
Benares or Patna c1840
This antique Indian miniature painting on mica depicts the ritual of sati where a Hindu widow would burn herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The widow is dressed like a bride and is on her funeral pyre while huge crowds of onlookers have gathered to watch.
There are caparisoned elephants and horses carrying members of royalty.
The subject matter of this painting, "sati", is not one that is found very often on these Company School mica paintings.
Mica paintings were usually made in sets depicting occupations, servants, dancing girls, modes of transport, costumes, temples and festivals.
In her book "Company Drawings in the India Office Library", Mildred Archer catalogs just one example of a "sati scene" by a Benares artist (p.54) .
Watercolor or gouache painting on mica.
The painting measures 9.25 x 6.6 inches.
It is in very good condition.