What do the terms India and Indian signify? How has India, conceptualized as a distinct subcontinent both contained within and separate from Asia, been framed by and manifested in theatrical representation? This article examines the portrayal of India in early seventeenth-century popular theatre in London, specifically in how the image of India is invoked in two of the lord mayors' shows written for the City of London by the playwright Thomas Middleton. Middleton's use of images of and references to India participate in some of the ways that India was conceptualized at a key stage in establishing the framework for colonial discourse. Colonial discourse was thus shaped within and by popular culture and spectacle, and a historical long view' can illuminate the development of the concept of India in English, and later British, society and identity and the material consequences of that conceptualization. As Teltscher notes, the early seventeenth century marked the beginning of a transition in the way relations with India were seen in England, from trading partner to ruling power. This development was enacted and effected through representations that were presented and paraded through the streets of London.