Holi festival, a nobleman watching the celebrations
Watercolour drawing showing the Holi festival, by an anonymous artist working in the Patna school, c. 1795-1800. Inscribed on the back of the drawing is: 'No.4. The Gift of E.E. Pote Esqr. Elizath Collins. This is a Hindoo Festival celebrated, among other sports, by throwing a red powder enclosed in globes of Lak which break instantly and cover the party with the Powder - this is immediately returned - and thus by partial and promiscuous peltings - the whole Party are entirely covered with the red Powder. The Powder is also put in Water, and the Assembly attack each other with squirts filled with the red water - by the time the Party break up', 'they are so disfigured as scarce to be known'; also' The Festival of the Hoolee.'
Holi is a very colourful Hindu festival celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March). During the celebrations participants jump over bonfires the preceding night and on the day itself they throw coloured water and powder at each other. The festival has ancient origins and is practiced all over India. In this drawing, an Indian gentleman is sitting on a painted stool watching the celebrations. Men sing and dance and play on instruments while women squirt coloured water.