Painting; gouache, Sati Ceremony, Tanjore, 1800
Sati ceremony: self-immolation of a Hindu widow, with men and women mourning by a river.
The pictures made by Indian artists for the British in India are called Company paintings. This one depicts the practice of sati (suttee) or widow-burning. The word is the Sanskrit for 'good woman' or 'true wife'. It was applied to the Hindu widow who makes the supreme sacrifice by following her husband onto the funeral pyre. Although suppressed in the 19th century, isolated instances of sati still occur in India even today.
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