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Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

Tissarakshita, Queen of Asoka 29 Dec 1911

RCIN 452415

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A note on the back of the painting reads ‘The queen of Asoka / King Asoka was extremely fond / of The Bodhi Tree. His queen Tissarakshita / became jealous of the sacred tree / and in a fit of anger destroys it / completed 29/12/11 / A. Tagore’.

Lady Hardinge (wife of the then Viceroy of India) gave this painting to Queen Mary in Calcutta shortly after the 1911 Delhi Durbar. The artist Abanindranath Tagore (1871–1951) pioneered the Bengal School, the first nationalist art movement in India. His works draw upon South Asian history and earlier painting traditions in direct resistance to the Western academic styles taught at the time. What Tagore recognised as the bhava (the mood or feeling) of earlier South Asian painting became the essence of his own practice.