Wrestler from Kabul, c. 1835-1838

Water colour of a wrestler from Kabul, c. 1836. Water colour of a wrestler from Kabul, c. 1836. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. SD.1109.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London holds a water colour by Godfrey Vigne, who was a British adventurer who in the 1830's travelled in the Indo-Iranian borderlands. This water colour shows a wrestler with his characteristic knee-length, embroidered shorts, which he wears in the zur khana, or 'house of strength'.

The water colour was made between 1835 and 1838, just before the start of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842). Godfrey Thomas Vigne was born in England in 1801. He studied law (and became an accomplished cricketer), but left England in 1831 and for a short while travelled in the Americas. The following year, after his return home, he left England again and journeyed overland through Iran to British India. He travelled extensively in the borderlands and in 1836 visited Kabul, where he had a meeting with the Kabul Amir, Dost Mohammed Khan. His travels in Afghanistan were laid down in A Personal Narrative of a Visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan, published in London in 1840. This book includes numerous sketches. 

The same illustration was included in the panorama of Kabul that was displayed by Robert Burford in the Rotunda near Leicester Square in 1842.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 12th May 2017).


Last modified on Monday, 26 June 2017 14:07
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