A Mendicant’s Portable Shrine


Sanskriti Museums

Sanskriti Museums

This painted wooden shrine, known as kavad is carried from place to place by its bhopa, the itinerant narrator - priest. The shrine has several flaps or shutters hinged to each other having elaborately painted, narrative scenes from different folk epics occasionally including scenes of hell punishments.
Kavads are made by local carpenters and painters in the Bassi village of Rajasthan. Depending upon the belief and religious practice of the concerned priest a kavad is ordered for making. The artist then paints the narratives accordingly. The narrator-priest opens the kavad flap by flap singing and narrating in prose the stories painted on them. The climactic darshan, envisioning of the deity, takes place at the end when all flaps are opened and the three sculpted images of the deities Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra appear in front of the devotees.

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  • Title: A Mendicant’s Portable Shrine
  • Date Created: 1901/1930
  • Location: Rajasthan
  • Physical Dimensions: H 35 cm x W 91 cm
  • Rights: Text © Sanskriti Museum of Everyday Art/ Jyotindra Jain
  • Medium: Painted (Lacquered), Wood and Iron Rings
  • Period: Early 20th Century


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