Kaavad, installation photo from Mangasia at Villa Reale di Monza, Italy

Mangilal Mistri2018/2018

Barbican Centre

Barbican Centre
London, United Kingdom

An Indian story cabinet - 'kavaad' - designed by Mangilal Mistri. The Kaavad is an intricately painted portable shrine; traditional Kaavads - known as Marwari - have ten doors. Smaller Kaavads may have eight or four. The artisan craft that goes into making Kaavads is undertaken by skilled carpenters called Basayati suthars and their customers are the storytellers, known as Kavaadiya Bhats. Stories told by Bhats would largely be based on the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas but also would be tailored to fit one’s family and context. There now remains very few makers as with cultural and lifestyle shifts towards film and tv, there are no longer as many storytellers and Kaavads have been foregone.

This work features in Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics, a Barbican International Enterprises exhibition, curated by Paul Gravett. Mangasia presents a vivid journey through the art of Comics and visual storytelling across Asia. From its historical roots to the most recent digital innovations, the exhibition looks to popular Japanese ‘Manga’ and beyond, highlighting key creators, characters and publications.


  • Title: Kaavad, installation photo from Mangasia at Villa Reale di Monza, Italy
  • Creator: Mangilal Mistri
  • Date: 2018/2018
  • Location Created: India
  • Type: Photography
  • Rights: Valerio E. Brambilla, LUX Studio
  • Medium: Drawing

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