Painting of blacksmiths, India

This painting depicts three men at work: one tends the fire with bellows and the others hammer hot metal on an anvil.

In India, the caste system is based on different hierarchical groups or varnas defined by occupation. The Viswabrahmin caste comprises five sub-groups – carpenters, blacksmiths, bell metalworkers, goldsmiths and stone masons – all of which are said to be descendants of Vishwakarma, a Hindu deity.

Purchased from Charles Green in 1950.

Accession number: 1950.11.1 B