Theses Doctoral

Ornamenting the Raj: Opulence and Spectacle in Victorian India

Shah, Siddhartha V.

This dissertation examines symbolic representations of British imperial power through the appropriation and display of Indian “things.” The objects and spectacles examined here—the Koh-i-Noor diamond, tigers and tiger hunting, and turbaned men on display—are all invested with a range of social and symbolic meanings within both their indigenous and imperial contexts. The things appropriated into the British Empire’s styling of itself that are discussed in this study were each traditionally associated with masculinity and kingship in their native Indian context and subsequently displayed on and around the bodies of British women. This study advances a relationship between the theatrics of British imperial power, and the emasculation and objectification of Indian men. A list of images has been submitted as a supplemental digital file with this dissertation.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Dehejia, Vidya J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 15, 2019