About this object

History of use

Indian popular religious prints have been published for nearly a century, first by German presses, later by Indian ones. The prints may take the form of calendars, posters, or simply images. The style of the representations is European. In the beginning they were Hindu images, but are now acquiring elements both of folk art and a romantic secularism. It is a living art currently influenced by the movie industry and non-Hindu religions. The images are a vehicle for advertising and are also used for religious purposes.

Cultural context

calendar art; popular religious art

Iconographic meaning

Murugan, great integrator among divinities and perfect son of Shiva and Parvati, is the divine child and source of power, love, and wisdom. He is the warrior god who defeats Taraka, the evil demon/giant, with his lance, 'Sakti-Vel'. Also identified by: appearing together with Parvati, Ganesh, and/or Shiva; three white lines and third eye or ascetic symbol stating association with Shiva; attendant peacock, feathers of which have many eyes radiant of the sun; Brahminical thread across chest; moon, toy; red and gold in association with the Earth and sun; and the rooster.

Physical description

Rectangular calendar print depicting Murugan, a four-armed black-haired male, with Devanai and Valli seated on a blue green peacock that stands on a cobra. Murugan's foot on left is bent up to thigh on right; male flanked by two seated black-haired females in saris, one red, the other blue. Both women gaze with tilted heads at forward-facing male. Females hold one pink lotus in one hand. Male wears a yellow dhoti and a green cloth over his shoulders. He is adorned with jeweled gold crown and necklaces, white, pink and green striped floral garland along with three horizontal parallel white stripes and red dot on forehead. He holds a gold trident and female's waist with hands on left; gold object of three stacked diamonds in hand on right. Fourth arm supporting long-staffed gold lance in upright position; has outward-facing palm. The scene is framed by stone columns and arches. Yellow halo shape behind male's head. Red, yellow and white block lettering at top and base, advertise 'T.A.S. Rothnam' in English and Indian script. Trademark on left, three canisters illustrated on right. Framed.