This postcard flips. Image side: Landscape mode. A brush and ink sketch shows an ageing, seated lion, facing left. Its paws are extended to the front. On the back we see a bamboo and stray structure, probably indicating that the lion is kept indoors. There is a caption at the top, which says an old lion without teeth and claws. Writing side: A letter covering the whole page to Nandalal's associate, Kanai Samanta.

Nandalal Bose

Toothless Lion, Postcard to Kanai Samanta 

22 February 1955

Collection: DAG Museums

An old lion without teeth and claws looks helplessly from inside a bamboo enclosure. But why is there a sense of anxiety in his eyes, and even in the wobbly lines that Nandalal uses to paint his wrinkled skin? The letter to his friend, Kanai Samanta, offers a remarkable explanation.

Dear Kanai, I believe I have seen most of the later works of Abanindranath...There is no doubt in my mind that Gurudev [Rabindranath Tagore] and Abanindranath are two of the greatest poets and painters of our age - and that their work will not be in vain. But at times I feel like a man of limited intelligence such as myself, is unable to comprehend what contemporary artists are doing. I feel quite scared. Do take a look at the article on 'Some Contemporary Painters in Delhi' that appeared in Marg, Deepabali, 1954.

Nandalal Bose to Kanai Samanta

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