Revellers intoxicated and incapable during a visit to a bhang wallah. Jaipur - c1860

Medium: Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli
This miniature painting provides a rare example of social satire in comparison to the norm of deities, religious and/or mythological scenes, portraits of rulers and courtiers. At an open-fronted stall a bhang wallah with female assistant sieving leaf from the mixture prepares the hallucinogenic drink made from cannabis. One intoxicated reveller is so high as to be unaware of the dog licking his face - a particularly repulsive sight to the intended viewer given that dogs are reviled in India by both Hidus and Muslims. The eager customers represent orthodox Hindus and Muslims with their fine clothes and expensive weapons but also the unorthodox represented by two ascetic holy men who could be either fakirs (Sufi ascetics) or sadhus (Hindu ascetics).