This painting is a oil on canvas painting by Edward Armitage, an English painter, titled: ‘Retribution’. It was painted in the year 1858; the subject of this painting is on the Indian rebellion 1857 - 1858, specifically placed in the ‘Massacre of Cawnpore’ event.
On 27 June 1857 in Cawnpore in India, a British defense force of men, women and children, under siege, were offered safe passage and sanctuary, from Nana Sahib. Instead, they were betrayed and were shot at, an act of violence that shocked Victorian Britain. The surviving women and children were later hacked to death. Two days later, retribution for the British, when it came, was pitilessly severe. They captured Indians, whether involved or not with the massacre, forced them to lick the blood stains of the dead. Hindus were forced into eating beef, Muslims pork. The latter were tied up in pigskin before being executed. Many inhabitants of Cawnpore who had played no part in the violence were immediately executed for having failed to do anything to prevent the killings. The preferred method of execution was to blow the perpetrator from the guns – hanging seemed too easy a death.
This painting represents the end of the conflict, where the British is getting its revenge on the Indian soldiers. The women in the painting, represents Britain; as a strong womanly figure which conveys strength and wisdom, and the Bengal Tiger of India represents India and their Sepoy troops (Indian soldiers); as a wild, violent, strong animal. Underneath the women is the victim of the tiger, a mother and her child dead. This is a metaphor for the Sepoy Troops for murdering the British defense force that consisted of some women and children. The woman is taking her revenge and/or vengeance on the Tiger for murdering the innocent lives of the mother and children. This is also a metaphor for the British taking it’s retribution on the Indian for the massacre of its...