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Maharana Sangram Singh hunting
1720-1730


Sisodia dynasty
Sisodia dynasty
Reign of Maharana Sangram Singh

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H: 60.9 W: 77.4 cm
Udaipur, Mewar, India

Purchase F1992.28

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While most royal portraits interweave the king's role with his physical appearance, this painting unravels the equivalence of the king, the body politic, and the kingdom. Distinguished by a gold halo and riding a dark horse, Sangram Singh enacts ideal kingship by demonstrating his hunting prowess in the midst of his realm. Multiple images of the ruler, his companions, his falcons, and the unfortunate heron capture the hunt's minute-by-minute action as does their zig-zag process across the landscape. To be clearly recognizable, all are depicted as if seen from straight on.

The details of the hunt-its courtiers and servants, a tented palanquin signifying the presence of a court lady, a village and its temples, the tilled fields and low hills—all contribute to the portrayal of the ruler as the embodiment and cause of his flourishing kingdom.