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Sketchbook depicting Dussehra festival in India

 Collection — Box: 1 [31151030118933]
Identifier: MS-0728
Dussehra (also known as Desara or Dasara) is the most famous event of the Chhattisgarh State, historically known as the Bastar region. It is a major Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil in the worship of the goddess Durga, also known as Vijayadashami. This item is a 24-sheet cloth-covered sketchbook of drawings depicting participants in the Bastar Dussehra festival and includes 19 sketches in colored chalks and watercolor, while 9 are in pencil--many with descriptive captions, mostly legible.

Dates

  • circa 1900

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.167 Cubic Feet (1 legal size folder)

Biographical / Historical

Bastar was a princely state in central India founded in the early 14th century. It is now a district of the Chhattisgarh State. Dussehra (also known as Desara or Dasara) is the most famous event of the region, a major Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil in the worship of the goddess Durga, also known as Vijayadashami. It lasts for 75 days, the longest Dussehra in India, with a distinctive traditional flavor.

Scope and Contents

This item is a 24-sheet cloth-covered sketchbook of drawings depicting participants in the Bastar Dussehra festival, celebrated in the Chhattisgarh (what used to be known as the Bastar) region of India. A reproduction of the original handwritten paper sticker on front cover has been pasted down in replacement of the original. The sticker states: Bastar State-Desara Feastival [sic]. The sketches were drawn on paper from J. Whatman Papers, a papermill company in Britain. The item includes 19 sketches in colored chalks and watercolor, while 9 are in pencil--many with descriptive captions, mostly legible. This sketchbook is the work of an accomplished amateur, a very engaged tourist, or perhaps a colonial official under the British Raj. The festival revolves around the chariot, pictured near the beginning of the album, pulled by various castes and representing the chariot brought back from Puri by the ruler 500 years ago. Other rituals depicted involve a virgin on a thorn-swing and a yogi buried shoulder-deep in earth in addition to other ceremonies and costumes. The sketches were likely drawn around 1900, given the prevalence of this type of sketchbook that Whatman produced at the turn-of-the-century.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This item was purchased in October 2015 from Marilyn Braiterman Rare Books.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in October 2015 by Annie Tang.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
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Baltimore MD 21218 USA