Jamini Roy (India, 1887-1972) Ibrahim and his Musicians
tempera on card 69.5 x 90 cm.
Provenance: Collection of the late Austin Coates.
Exhibited and Published: Alpha Gallery, Singapore, Jamini Roy - the Indian Maestro, Exhibition Catalogue, 30 April-10 May 1972, number 11.
'Ibrahim was a Muslim saint of 13th-Century Bengal, who converted many humble people, including untouchables. Realizing that the poor would never be able to learn to read the Koran, he composed songs, each of which embodied an Islamic truth, and toured the villages with his musicians, singing his songs again and again till the people learned them by heart. His songs were all in the Bengali lyric idiom, devoid of Arabic influence, and they account for Bangla Desh today having a unique form of Islamic music. Note the saint's Muslim beard and cap, and sheepskin coat. The woman on the extreme right represents the villagers.'