February 3 - May 6, 2007
Rare and beautiful, these exquisitely carved wooden panels are created for the sides of palkee, palanquin used during wedding ceremonies of the Santal tribe in northern India. The Santal follow their own religion and customs and speak a language linguistically linked to peoples in Southeast Asia. Among the Santal, marriage is a particularly important ceremony filled with significant religious and social rituals. One traditional part of the ceremony requires the bride be carried in a palkee. The themes carved on the palkee panels are derived from local ceremonies, such as marriage; the Santal creation myth; totems for the twelve Santal clans; battle scenes that may represent the 1855 Santal rebellion; and, most often, scenes from everyday life. Thanks to an anonymous lender, the Crocker is proud to display palkee panels from the 20th century, the first exhibit of its kind in the West.
This exhibition is made possible through a gift of Pramila and Indru Kriplani.