A quick trawl through Holi in Indian art.


First up, sculpture at the Chennakeshava temple at Belur. A bit of water sport preparation at the feet of the madanika (photograph via Sandeep).

Miniature paintings often feature the ever popular theme of Radha and Krishna playing Holi.  This set is from Kangra, about 1800. A lot of costume details in there from dress to caps to jewellery.  And the predominant spring palette of India, shades of red and yellow.

A continuation of the Kangra tradition by a modern painter.

The theme in early 20th century art:


  1. Jamini Roy (above)
  2. Abdur Rahman Chughtai (below). There is also a sari inspired by the painting.



Kings at play:


  1. Maharana Swarup Singh of Mewar at Holi (1851) (above)
  2. Ram Singh of Kotah, 1844 (below)


In photographs:

Holi festival 1945

The festival in 1945 celebrated by a group of Koli girls:


This exercise would last for around twenty days and every day we would go and check if both woods and flowers were drying properly.  A few days before Holi, the dried flowers would be put in sacks and tied. These would be put in very large tubs of water along with some lime and the beautiful colour of Palash would colour the water, ready to be used for Holi. [X]

Pics of palash flowers: Sanjib Ganguly and Jadavpur Lab via AFP.  Along with preparing the powder from the flowers for the coloured water, the wood of the tree would be dried for Holika dahan.

Happy Holi all!

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 12th century, 1800s, 1840s, 1850s, 19th century, Ancient India, Art, art recreation, Bengal, Costume, costumes in art, Culture, Dance, Early 19th century, fashion, Hinduism, historical art, historical costume, indian art, Indian Costume, indian festivals, Indian men, Indian Mythology, Indian Women, miniature paintings, Paintings, Pakistani Art, Royalty, Sculpture, vintage art, vintage fashion, women in art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Holi

  1. Biker Chick says:

    Oh the paintings of the Kings at play are something else. Simply lovely. Oh yeah, it does look as she is getting ready to fill up a pitchkar, which I would have assumed is a modern contraption. How detailed! Happy Holi to you too. Totes lovely compilation as usual.

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