A Prince Visits the Poet Tulsidas

Historical period(s)
Sisodia dynasty, Reign of Amar Singh II, ca. 1700-1710
Movement
Mewar Court
School
Rajput School
Medium
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 49.2 x 44.6 cm (19 3/8 x 17 9/16 in)
Geography
India, Mewar, Rajasthan state, Udaipur
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1986.13
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
India, poet, prince, Sisodia dynasty (861 - 1947), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

By 1972
Switzerland, by 1972 [1]

To 1986
Spink & Son, Ltd., London, to 1986

From 1986
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Spink & Son, Ltd. in 1986

Notes:

[1] According to correspondence in the object file, Douglas Barrett, formerly Keeper of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, confirmed that he had seen and examined this object in Switzerland in 1972 (see Curatorial Note 6 in object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Spink & Son Ltd.

Label

The lower part of this painting depcits Muazzam Shah Alam, a Mughal prince, visiting Tulsidas, the poet and saint who authored a 16th-century version of the Ramayana (Story of Rama). The inscription, written in a dialect of Hindi called Braj, says that the prince asked Tulsidas why Hindus worship stones. Tulsidas quoted from his poem, the Kavitavali (Necklace of Poems), which tells the story of Prahlad, a boy who worshipped Rama (a form of Vishnu) despite his father's opposition. Challenged by his father, who asked "Where is Rama?" the boy answered "He is everywhere."  "Is he in this pillar?" the father asked.  "Yes," the boy said.  Then as depicted in the upper register, Narasimha, the man-lion form of Vishnu, jumped out and attacked the father until the boy asked him to stop. Tulsidas explained that this incident convinced people that god is everywhere, and since that time they have worshipped stones.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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