Women in South Asian Art

, University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
  • Standing Female Donor
  • Tantric Female Deity Drinking from Skull Cup (Vajrayogini)
  • A Lady at Her Toilet with Two Maids
  • A Lady on Horseback on a Terrace
  • A Lady Chases a Cat With a Stick
  • The Goddess Durga Battles Demons, folio from a manuscript of the Durgasaptashati (Seven Hundred Couplets in Praise of Durga)
  • Watermelon Seller
  • Nautch Girls
  • Hindoo Mendicants
  • Blacksmiths
  • Untitled from the Popular Series from the photo-performance project
  • Untitled from the Popular Series from the photo-performance project
  • Portrait of a Lady, copy of a European painting (painting, recto; text, verso), folio from a manuscript
  • Kali Quaffs Blood in the Pallava Camp (painting, recto; text, verso), illustrated folio from a manuscript
  • Nayika (Female Nude)
  • Lady Yearning for Her Lover
  • Two Ladies from Surat
  • Narayana Enthroned with Lakshmi and Sarasvati
  • Erotic Painting (recto and verso), folio from a Jain manuscript
  • Erotic Scene
  • Maharaja Man Singh of Marwar (r. 1803-43) with Ladies on a Charkhi
  • Standing Male Donor
  • Dancing Girls
  • Girl Dancing
  • Enthroned Four-armed Female Deity with Two Fly-whisk Bearers
  • Two Friendly Ladies
  • Bhairavi Ragini, illustration from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) series
  • Mother and Child
  • Erotic Drawing
  • Lady Artist at Work
  • The Great Orgy of Maharao Shatru Sal II (r. 1866-89)
  • Untitled from the Popular Series from the photo-performance project
On View Locate on Floor Plan University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

Drawn from the Harvard Art Museums’ renowned South Asian art collection, this University Teaching Gallery installation complements an undergraduate course exploring images of women in South Asian art; the course takes a historical perspective in order to understand the politics of gender and the social status of women in today’s South Asia. In addition to historical examples of female patronage and representations of goddesses, the installation includes a group of objects portraying women as active agents—a lady chasing a cat, for example, or a rare depiction of a female artist. A small group of erotic images invites viewers to consider the relationship between erotic science and the Indic attitude toward the body, in which sexuality and virility are auspicious forces.

The installation’s related course is taught by Jinah Kim, the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. The University Teaching Gallery serves faculty and students affiliated with Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. Semester-long installations are mounted in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate courses, supporting instruction in the critical analysis of art and making unique selections from the museums’ collections available to all visitors.

This installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund and the José Soriano Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.