Muharram festival, the ta'ziya in the Imambara.
Watercolour drawing showing the Muharram festival, by an anonymous artist working in the Patna style, c. 1795 - 1800. Inscribed on the back of the drawing is: 'No.18. The Gift of E.E. Pote Esq. Elizath Collins. This is a Representation of the Mohurrum';' and is the Commemoration of the Murder of Hussen and Hosain two Mahomedan Saints: continued for ten days. A Machine is constructed very superbly painted and gilt, supposed to represent their Tomb - Before which is a Priest reading the circumstances of their Death which in general has a most enthusiastic effect upon the Audience who weep, groan and beat their breasts with the greatest violence, loudly calling upon the names of Hussein Hossein, prostrating themselves before the Tomb, and offering the sacrifice of their lives in the defence of the cause of these two Saints. Under the Canopy are the various Standards and Flags of the Mahomedans - before them is the figure of the Borak - An imaginary animal with the face of a Woman, the breast and Tail of a Peacock, with wings on the Body and feet of a deer';' on which animal, Mahomet (as he says) was transported to Heaven from his chamber and held seventy thousand conferences with God, and was brought back to his Chamber by the same animal in so short a space of time that a small pitcher of water which had been thrown down on his departure had not emptied itself on his return. The place in which this exhibition is made, is very grand with ornamented illuminations, and this Scenery accompanied by the sincere and enthusiastic beating on their breasts and their Fears, groans and exclamations has the most solemn effect upon the Mahomedan Devotees'. Also inscibed is: 'The Mohurram. No.1.'