Bas-relief representing Trade at Crawford Market, Mumbai, by John Lockwood Kipling. Installed in 1869, this was one of two white marble tympanum reliefs over the main entrances to the market, both compositions showing many Indian figures in varying depths of relief. This one shows a heavily laden man bringing in a basket heaped with pineapples, bananas and papayas; two men on the left apparently bartering for goods; and a similarly seated woman on the right selling to a customer with one child in her arms and another beside her. In the background and in shallower relief, is a loaded bullock cart with its attendant, this cart bearing melons or gourds of various kinds. Julius Bryant feels the reliefs may be "more Western than Indian in style" possibly to suit William Emerson's Gothic market complex, but the content is all Indian. The prominent wheel serves as a symbol as well, not just of the transport involved in trade but of the fundamental movement of life.

Closer view of the figures on the right.

Jan Morris describes the bas-reliefs as friezes, and focuses on this one in particular when she says that they depict "ideal market-people and their clients, women with plump babies, well-built porters with luscious loads ... presenting a paradigm of what a market ought to look like, in the dreams alike of the imperial British and the arts and crafts movement..." (142).

Photographs by Ramachandran Venkatesh, and text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images for larger pictures.]

Related Material

Bibliography

Bryant, Julius. "Kipling as a Sculptor." John Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London. Edited by Bryant and Susan Weber. New York: Bard Graduate Centre Gallery; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017. 81-105.

Morris, Jan. The Stones of Empire: The Buildings of the Raj. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993.


Created 27 January 2017