Asian Lesser False Vampire Bat

Historical period(s)
ca. 1790
Company School
Watercolor on paper
H x W (overall): 41.9 x 52.1 cm (16 1/2 x 20 1/2 in)
India, East India, West Bengal, Kolkata (Calcutta)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album folio

bat, India, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Major James Nathaniel Rind English, active in India, died 1814
Andrew Kahane, Ltd. Oriental Art


For the British men and women who went to India, the study of natural history was both scientific inquiry and fashionable pastime. They trained Indian artists, often skilled court painters seeking new patronage, to record the country's flora and fauna with scientific precision.
The elegantly composed watercolor of a bat was commissioned by Major James Nathaniel Rind (died 1814) of the Eighteenth Native Infantry. The artist, whose name is unknown, masterfully captured the bat's downy fur and delicate veins as he transformed the Asian false vampire bat's fierce appearance into one of quite charming appeal.

Published References
  • Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Thursday, June 17, 1993. New York, 1993. Lot 169.
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. p. 89.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 59, p. 189.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum