Giant Demon Attacks a Ship

Historical period(s)
ca. 1775
Jain School
Opaque watercolor on plain-woven fabric support attached to a fabric covered panel
H x W: 129.2 x 123.3 cm (50 7/8 x 48 9/16 in)
India, Gujarat state
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


boat, demon, fish, India

Private collector [1]

To 1999
Spink & Son Ltd., London, to 1999

From 1999
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Spink & Son Ltd. in 1999


[1] According to Curatorial Note 3 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Spink & Son Ltd.


Popular tales and lively images played a role in transmitting beliefs and values to the Jain community. The Shripalarasa is a narrative that recounts the wondrous adventures of the Jain Prince Shripala, who travels to distant lands in search of trade and wealth. In this unusually large and vivacious painting, the artist represents the Prince's ship as a British vessel. The inscriptions scattered across the painting, which repetively identify parts of the ship, indicate a fascination with seafaring. The depiction of the Union Jack lends immediacy to a story that took place long before the British came to India.

Published References
  • Lincoln Paine. The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World. New York. .
  • Pratapaditya Pal. The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India. Exh. cat. New York and Los Angeles. cat. 120, pp. 256-257.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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