Celebration of yoga through British-era paintings

Kolkata, June 24 (IANS) A glimpse into the traditional rituals of Indian priests during the British Raj, offering prayers in various yoga postures, is on offer at an art exhibition at the Victoria Memorial Hall here.

The exhibition is in commemoration of the June 21 inaugural International Yoga Day.

As many as 15 lithographic prints (reproduced digitally on canvas) by 19th century English artist S.C. Belnos, who lived in Kolkata (then Calcutta), are on display as the memorial’s Object of the Month.

A lithograph is a type of printing process through which original works of art can be printed and reproduced.

Christened ‘Morning Prayers of Brahmins’, the exhibition is an assemblage of selected prints from her celebrated 1851 album ‘Sundhya’ featuring 24 plates depicting Indian priests or Brahmins paying obeisance to nature, their gestures, poses as well as the accessories.

“The digital prints developed from the original lithographs show morning prayers of Brahmins depicted in postures of yoga. The exhibition is in commemoration of the Yoga Day and will go on till July 21,” Gholam Nabi, head of the memorial’s documentation division, told IANS.

The canvas prints on display include ‘Soorya Pooja’ (a priest standing with one leg folded with a clay lamp in palms offering prayers to the sun), drawings of various hand signs, a priest performing Pranayama on the bank of a river and other such yoga postures.

The finesse and accuracy of the original prints crafted through lithography capture the intricacies of the prayer rituals, said Nabi.

The inaugural International Yoga Day was observed on June 21.

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