string(22) "edanmdm:fsg_S2018.1.57" Maharana Raj Singh I observing an elephant fight - National Museum of Asian Art

Maharana Raj Singh I observing an elephant fight

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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1670-1675
  • Geography

    Mewar, Rajasthan state, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (overall): 47 × 52.1 cm (18 1/2 × 20 1/2 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • School/Tradition

    Mewar school
  • Description

    Within an arena, five vignettes convey the play-by-play action of an elephant contest. At the upper right, the elephants are introduced, then clash beneath the Rana's balcony on the upper left, until one falls and sheds its mahouts. It is pursued, but turns on its attacker, which also spills its riders.
    The many active minor figures are freshly if naively drawn and the action unusually overlaps into the margins. Above and aloof from the melee, the Rana sits facing his younger brother Arsi and son Gaj Singh, while Garibas sits behind.
  • Inscriptions

    Updated 2022
    kī 115 18/40
    [partially obscured]…. kālīkāṁṭī ro bhālerāv
    Price 115 rupees [in red] 18/40
    …black Bhalerav
    śrī māhārājādhīrāj māhrāṇojī śrī rāj sīghjī baṭhā
    bhatiyanī chovṭe hāthī ladavaya jaṭhe sāmā
    māhārājā arsī beṭhā māhārājā gaj sīghjī
    beṭhā hajur pāche prohat garībdāsjī beṭhā
    hāṭhī sadāmaṁd bhurīkaṁṭī ro hāṭhī bhālerāv
    kālīkāṁṭī ro
    Shri Maharajadhiraj Maharanaji Shri Raj Singhji sat [at]
    Bhatiyani Chohta; the elephants were made to fight
    there; where, in front, Maharaja Arsi sat, Maharaja Gaj
    Singhji sat, after the king, the priest Garibdas sat.
    Elephant Sadamand has a brown luster; elephant
    Bhalerav has a black luster.
    Verso in Rajasthani in devanagari script:
    (on right, in a smaller hand) Hathi Jhalera Su Ladavya, Kali Kanti Ro Jhalerav
    Elephant fight and the one with the black band is Jhalerav (meaning of Jhalerav unknown)
    (in a larger hand) Shri Maharaja Dheraj Maharanoji Shri Raj Singhni Bada Bhatiyani Chovte Hathi Ladavaya Jate Sama Maharaja Arsiji Betha Maharaja GajSigh Ji Betha Husuriya Che. Prohit Garibdas Betha Hathi Sadasamand Bhuri Kanti Ro Hathi Bhalerav Kali Kanti Ro
    During Shri Maharajadhiraj Maharana ji Shri Raj Singh’s [big/elder?] elephant fight in a field. Sitting in front is Maharaja Arsiji and Maharaja Shri Gaj Singh ji in service. The priest Garibdas ji is also sitting. As always the elephant has a brown [chain/throat/ neck band?] and [Bhalerav?] elephant has a black [chain/throat/ neck band]. 1.
  • Provenance

    Royal Udaipur Collection [1]
    To 2004
    Vishnu Lal, New York, New York [2]
    From 2004 to 2018
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Vishnu Lal in New York, New York in 2004 [3]
    From 2018
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [4]
    [1] According to information from Andrew Topsfield, the painting was previously in the Royal Collection of Udaipur. He states, “I first saw this picture in 1976. It was then in Switzerland and belonged to a group of paintings formerly in the Mewar royal collection which I understood had come out of India a few years before, possibly 1969 but I am not sure.” See letter from Andrew Topsfield from Nov. 29, 2917, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.
    [2] According to information from Catherine Glenn Benkaim, Vishnu Lal is the son of an Agra dealer, Ganeshi Lal. But he also had an office on 42nd street and 5th avenue right across the street from the Public Library. Ms. Benkaim does not know when the New York office opened because the Lal family had been in the business since the 19th century. The New York office is no longer open.
    [3] See note 2.
    [4] See Acquisition Justification Form, object file, Collections Management Office.
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur (November 19, 2022 to May 14, 2023)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Royal Udaipur Collection
    Vishnu M. Lal
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim
  • Origin

    Mewar, Rajasthan state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the National Museum of Asian Art
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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