Kotah, early 18th century Ink on paper; two elephants rearing up on their fettered hind legs with trunks locked in fight, their heads carefully shaded with the build up of minute curving lines. 14 1/8 x 21 in. (35.9 x 53.4 cm)
Set along the banks of the Chambal, the only perennial river in the largely desert state of Rajasthan, Kotah is rife with lush vegetation and game. Beset with elephants, the Kotah school's portrayal of these great creatures was perhaps only rivaled in skill by the artists of the Imperial Mughal court. Kotah elephants exhibit not only the artists' careful observation of their physiognomy and psychology, but also a sense of adoration too. For an earlier, but closely related example of a single elephant see Stuart Cary Welch (ed.), Gods, Kings, and Tigers: the Art of Kotah, Munich, 1997, no. 12, p. 108.
Other related drawings can be found in Pratapaditya Pal and Betty Seid, Holy Cow, Chicago, 2002, no. 27, p. 62; Stuart Cary Welch, From Mind, Heart and Hand, Harvard, 2004, no. 38; and another in the Pal Family Collection, Christie's, New York, March 20, 2008, lot 215.
Provenance: Private Californian Collection John Lincoln, Pasadena, 1999 Ex Collection: Sangram Singh
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