Company School

Sadhu lying on a bed of nails

Sadhu lying on a bed of nails by Company School

Artwork Detail

Earning the name 'Company school' this kind of painting was created for sevants of the East India Company, hence the name. Large sets of these were produced for the English in India, representing the trades and Indian customs for the English to keep as momentos of their time in India. This is probably painted in Calcutta in the early 19th century.

In Hinduism, the title Sadhu describes an ascetic or practitioner of yoga who has given up pursuit of the first three Hindu goals of life: kama (pleasure), artha (wealth and power) and even dharma (duty). Instead the Sadhu tries to achieve liberation (moksha) through meditating and contemplating God. The term is not just restricted to Hindhuism, but can be found in other faiths describing people who live by the same principles.

Sadhu lying on a bed of nails
Company School
Production date
early 19th century
306 x 243 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2003
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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