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Caparisoned Elephant with Raised Trunk

Caparisoned Elephant with Raised Trunk
Item Code: AP64
Water Color on Old Urdu Paper, Manual Calligraphy on both sides
3.8" x 8.1"
Mughals, coming from the remote Central Asian state of Farghana, were unfamiliar with this huge strange-looking animal - the elephant which was a great source of fascination with them. Hence, pictures of elephant herds and animal portraits were not rare.

This brilliantly spirited elephant is drawn with feeling and care. It shows the elephant richly decorated with a maroon velvet over blanket with floral embroidery and a gold border. Gold and enamel chains of various designs decorate his body. This young elephant of young proportion has a medium size trunk which is raised as it strides forward. The movement is deftly achieved by a different curve and projection of each of the four legs. The jewel-encrusted anklets just make the leg movement more conspicuous. A lot of effort seems to have gone in achieving a true to life skin color of the elephant. Small and quick brush strokes depict the texture of its skin. The tusks are ivory white and seem to support the triumphantly raised trunk.

The background is completely done in green with no distinction between the earth and the sky. The foreground has identical tufts of grass. the distant perspective covers hills and a couple of huts in the distance. The skyline has been depicted with light, flat brush strokes. The background has been relegated to a less important status in view of this gentle, yet majestic elephant.

Calligraphic inscription above and below the picture frame the deftly executed painting wonderfully.

This description by Renu Rana.

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