Tasveer Ghar: A Digital Archive of South Asian Popular Visual Culture
The Commodity Image in the (Post) Colony
Arvind Rajagopal

A widely circulated Ravi Varma image, depicting the goddesses Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati, shown with their respective vahanas, the elephant, the lion and the peacock. The print is courtesy of a “high class snuff manufacturer” from Madras, with the consumer product, a tin of snuff, shown in the bottom left-hand corner to avoid detracting from the main focus of the picture. The scale of the vahanas vis-à-vis the goddesses confirms their relative importance. Images such as the above are nowadays less likely to be found in urban settings as calendar art in use. Where they are found, they are more likely to be framed and used as artwork to adorn a room, or as devotional imagery for purposes of worship.

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