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Winter scene with snow, Artist Unknown, Probably Late 18th century, Oil on Canvas,
Print on Art Paper
Print size: 34 x 44 cm / 13.5 x 17.5 inch
The Rashtrapati Bhavan contains a collection of four Chinese paintings which used to adorn the India Office Council Room corridors and were presented to Viceroy’s House in 1930 by Secretary of State for India. The paintings are believed to represent the socio-cultural fabric of China during the Qing dynasty, according to the 1931 catalogue authored by Sir Evan Cotton.
This painting titled, “Winter scene with snow” depicts a village ceremony, perhaps the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Swirling clouds and small snowy mountains can be seen in background. A circular procession of dancing villagers appears to be moving towards the central plane. Deep tones reflect European influences. People can be seen paying reverence to a temple with a characteristic Chinese roof. According to the 1931 catalogue, the empty blue sedan chairs on the left show that the priests are inside the temple. A performance is being staged towards the right of the temple pavilion and an ox stands atop the temple portico, reached through a flight of long horizontal steps. In the midst of this vast procession, a judge is being carried in a blue carriage. A circular banner in motion precedes this carriage. The temple ceremony seems to be followed by a military parade.