A large portrait of a tiger  India, Mewar Late 18th century
Lot 174W
A large portrait of a tiger killed by Maharana Ari Singh (reg. 1761-1773) in the village of Karget, near Udaipur, in the month of Pausha, samvat 1822/AD 1765-1766 Udaipur, circa 1765-1770
Sold for £37,250 (US$ 62,315) inc. premium
Auction Details
A large portrait of a tiger  India, Mewar Late 18th century
Lot Details
A large portrait of a tiger killed by Maharana Ari Singh (reg. 1761-1773) in the village of Karget, near Udaipur, in the month of Pausha, samvat 1822/AD 1765-1766
Udaipur, circa 1765-1770
gouache on cloth, with nagari inscriptions at upper centre in two different hands, on stretcher
163 x 305 cm. (approx.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Purchased by the present owner from the Indar Pasricha Gallery, London in the early 1980s; formerly in a Paris collection.

    The inscription reads:
    ... Maharajadhiraj Maharana ji Shri Ari Singh gaam
    Karget ... soneri nar maso Pausa ... samvat 1822 varshe

    (and in a different hand) pad do ori jama samvat 1822 ... maah budhe ...
    la bo haath chhe ucho haath ra
    Number 12, Keemat 12

    "... Maharajadhiraj Maharana ji Shri Ari Singh [at] Village Karget...in the month of Pausha... samvat 1822 [AD 1765-66]...; Number 12, Price 12"

    Hunting in India has always been the sport of kings and princes and as Abu'l Fazl tells us in the Ain-i-Akbari, Mughal hunts were carried out with almost military precision during Akbar's time, with thousands of beaters in the jungles and forests on foot. Hunting was also of particular importance to the ruling houses of Rajasthan and the Maharanas of Udaipur led the way in all hunting and sporting pursuits. But the pursuit of the tiger was always the honour of the ruler, whether from an elephant howdah or a tree hide (machans) where he would wait with his entourage, guns aimed as the animals were ringed towards him by the shikar (hunting) beaters.

    Lengthy inscriptions often found on Udaipur paintings mention details of the event being recorded. Ari Singh, a keen patron of the Udaipur studio, clearly wanted a record of the killing of this tiger with the naming of the village and the date.

    Such was the demand for hunting scenes by royal and noble patrons that Udaipur artists kept a constant record of hunting from the early 18th Century into the 20th. Hunting scenes, particularly those depicting tigers, were also popular in the neighbouring Rajasthani state of Kotah and strong comparisons can be made between the schools of Udaipur and Kotah in the second half of the 18th Century and continuing into the 19th.


    For further discussion and comparisons see:
    W. G. Archer, Indian Painting in Bundi and Kotah, London 1959, figs. 37-40.
    A. Topsfield, op.cit., Melbourne, 1980, p. 13, nos.159,160 and 165.
    H. Hodgkin and T. McInerney, Indian Drawing, London 1983, no. 35.
    S. Kossak, Indian Court Painting 16th-19th Century, New York 1997, no. 76.
    A. Topsfield, op.cit., Zurich 2001, pp. 199-208.
    A. Topsfield, (ed.) op.cit., New York 2004, nos. 118 and 119.

    For a Pahari comparison, see also S. C. Welch, India: Art and Culture 1300-1900, New York 1985, no. 276.
    A. Topsfield, Visions of Mughal India, Oxford 2012, no. 71.
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