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Sophie Charlotte Belnos
(1795 - 1865)

The Sundhya or the Daily Prayers of the Brahmins

Sophie Charlotte Belnos, The Sundhya or the Daily Prayers of the Brahmins. Illustrated in a series of original drawings from nature, demonstrating their attitudes and different signs and figures performed by them during the ceremonies of their morning devotions, and likewise their poojas, London: Day and Son Lithographers, 1851

25 colour plates each measuring 75 x 58 cm. These are accompanied with a descriptive text annexed to each plate and the Sanskrit prayers translated into English by Mrs S C Belnos; half leather bound with marbled cloth boards, gilt leather title ticket pasted on the front board, gilt title with decorative motif at the spine with 6 raised bands
65.5 x 50 x 3 cm

1. (Coloured frontispiece) Junction of the Ganges & the Jumna rivers / 2. The Brahmins First Prayer to the Curoo / 3. Gungashtuk / 4. Koorma (Tortoise) / 5 & 6. [assorted devotional hand and finger attitudes] / 7. Pooruck Pranaiyam - Kumbuck – Raichuck / 8. Urghai, offering of water, rice &c, &c / 9. Soorya / 10. Gayatri Jup (The Secret Prayer) / 11. Signs of the Gayatri / 12. Gyan / 13. Bhyraggai / 14 & 15. [assorted religious vessels and captions] / 16. Poojah of Vishnoo (pouring water on the Saligram) / 17. Poojah of Mahadeo / 18. Pooja of Devee - Shico Shiva (Pudmasheen) / 19. Kuranyasa in the Gayatri Devee Pooja (Six hand signs) / 20. [six devotional arm, face, chest, and hand signs] / 21. Poojah of Soorya / 22. Pooja of Gunesh / 23. Pooja of Hunooman / 24. Punch Agnee / 25. Signs worn by Brahmins

Sundhya is a daily recital of prayers by Brahmins, accompanied by appropriate gesticulations. This book was initiated as the author felt that the religious habits and manners of the native Indians must have been interesting novelties worth exploring. The prayers, at places given in the original Sanskrit, invoke various Hindu deities like Vishnu, Hanuman and Mahadeva. They come with pictorial illustrations that represent the manner of their actual performance.

Sundhya also carries information on the accessories crucial to the conduct of such prayers, like dhoodan and shunkh. The book, in Sophie Charlotte Belnos's own words, intends to "communicate a correct idea of the practices.... and not to enter into the recondite subject of religion itself."

Belnos was an amateur artist who became a professional lithographer later. She was the wife of French miniature artist and lithographer Jean-Jacques Belnos, who is credited with introducing lithographic printing in India in 1822. She had set up a studio in Calcutta in 1847, and many of her illustrations depict the daily life and customs of Indians, many of which are depicted in the present lot and Twenty-four Plates Illustrative of Hindoo and European Manners in Bengal. Abbey speculates that Mrs Belnos was Indian, but she was in fact almost certainly the daughter of William Moore, assistant surgeon in the Bengal army.

Reference: J R Abbey, Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860, p. 477


  Lot 2 of 100  

4-5 MAY 2022


Winning Bid
Rs 6,30,000

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)

Category: Books


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