A Prince Visits the Poet Tulsidas

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


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


[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.


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
SI Usage Statement

Usage conditions apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.