Syamakantha Fighting a Tiger. 19th century, Calcutta. // In India, art is an integral part of daily life. The importance of paintings, sculpture, textiles and other art forms comprises two basic categories, one related to religious practices and the other to the expression of prestige and social position.
Kalighat painting of Vishnu as Matsya. Calcutta, c1860. All of creation was engulfed by water and disappeared. One of the god's rivals snatched the four Vedas, the most revered scriptures of Hindu tradition, from the hands of Brahma and disappeared with them into the depths. Eventually, with Vishnu's help, they were recovered. Paintings such as this are typical of 19th-cent Calcutta.