Asian Art

The Month of Sawan

ca. 1770–80

Ink and vermilion on paper

without mounting: 11 15/16 × 8 1/2 in. (30.4 × 21.6 cm)
with mounting: 22 1/16 × 15 11/16 in. (56 × 39.8 cm)
The Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, B.A. 1927, Collection, Gift of Mrs. John D. MacDonald
This drawing depicts the festivals associated with the month of Sawan—a holy month in the Hindu calendar, during which some Hindus fast for the god Lord Shiva and women set up swings as part of the celebration. The pricked points along the outlines of several figures indicate that a method of transfer known as “pouncing” was used to copy those elements of the composition. In this case, the original design would have been placed on top of a new sheet of paper, and outlines of the original were either traced or pricked to transfer the design onto the new sheet. The same pounced sheets could be used for numerous paintings produced in the same workshop. Both the traces of transfer and the artist’s corrections are visible here.
Indian, probably Punjab
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)

Vera M. MacDonald and John D. MacDonald, Boston, Mass., by 2001; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2001


W. G. Archer, Indian Painting in Bundi and Kotah (London: H.M. Stationery Office, 1959), no. 20.

Maggs Bros., “Bulletin,” Maggs Bros. no. 7 (July 1964): ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.