Vaishnava Devotee with Two Women

Here a devotee of Vishnu is wearing shoes and is depicted with some irony as being a fashionable devotee, or perhaps merely posing as orthodox. Kalighat artists often targeted hypocritical Vaishnava mendicants whose intentions with unsuspecting women were far from innocent. On his forehead one finds sectarian marks worn by worshippers of Vishnu. The man’s right hand and one of the women’s left hands, both held aloft, are colored red, possibly to indicate that they were adorned with henna.

Black ink, watercolor, and tin paint, with graphite underdrawing on paper


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Cleveland Museum of Art

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