Asian Lesser False Vampire Bat

Historical period(s)
ca. 1790
School
Company School
Medium
Watercolor on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 41.9 x 52.1 cm (16 1/2 x 20 1/2 in)
Geography
India, West Bengal state, Kolkata (Calcutta)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1993.40
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
bat, India, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

For the British men and women who went to India, the study of natural history was both scientific inquiry and fashionable pastime. They trained Indian artists, often skilled court painters seeking new patronage, to record the country's flora and fauna with scientific precision.


The elegantly composed watercolor of a bat was commissioned by Major James Nathaniel Rind (died 1814) of the Eighteenth Native Infantry. The artist, whose name is unknown, masterfully captured the bat's downy fur and delicate veins as he transformed the Asian false vampire bat's fierce appearance into one of quite charming appeal.

Published References
  • Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Thursday, June 17, 1993. New York, 1993. Lot 169.
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. p. 89.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 59, p. 189.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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