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Textile label produced for R. S. Jeewanmall Bro., Amritsar & Bombay, Manchester depicting Krishna

Unknown Maker(s)19th to 20th centuries

Museum of Art & Photography

Museum of Art & Photography
Bangalore, India

This textile label produced for R. S. Jeewanmall Bro., depicts the episode of Kaliya mardan.

According to Hindu mythology, Kaliya was the name of a Naga (semi-divine serpent) who moved to the Yamuna River in Vrindavan and began to poison its waters with his venom. In one version of the story, poisonous fumes began to rise from the river, cows drinking its water began to die, and Krishna was approached by the townspeople for help. In another version, Krishna chases after a ball that falls into the river while playing with his friends. Then he proceeds to overpower Kaliya, leaping onto his head and dancing, while assuming the weight of the whole universe – slowly draining Kaliya of his strength and life. It is believed that Kaliya's wives come and pray to Krishna to pardon their husband and spare his life, thus saving him. Some depictions therefore, also show them surrounding the dancing Krishna.

Textile trade labels, also referred to as ‘tickets’ and ‘tikas’ remain a less popularly known, though entirely fascinating, by-product of Indo-British trade and cultural history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These trade labels formed an integral part of the publicity campaigns of both British and Indian mills of the period, and featured imagery that ranged from the mythological to the political. Customarily rectangular in format and marked by borders that usually carried the names of the mills or their agents, they were directly attached to cloth or pasted on the bales of cotton cloth being shipped. Every bale of yarn and cloth coming into India from England carried these labels or trademarks; and soon indigenous mills began to employ the same method of marketing their wares.

Details

  • Title: Textile label produced for R. S. Jeewanmall Bro., Amritsar & Bombay, Manchester depicting Krishna
  • Creator: Unknown Maker(s)
  • Date Created: 19th to 20th centuries
  • Location: England/Germany; India
  • Type: Textile Label
  • Rights: Courtesy of the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP)
  • Medium: Chromolithograph
  • Museum No.: TC.633
  • Department: Popular Culture

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