The Great Mughal mounted on an elephant

The emperor Bahadur Shah mounted on an elephant, Mughal School of painting, India,  eighteenth century. All symbols of royal power are represented on this beautiful miniature of great refinement iconography.

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The emperor Bahadur Shah mounted on an elephant, School Mughal India, late seventeenth century.

It is probably the Emperor Bahadur Shah I (reigned 1707-1712) who is represented here crowned, seated in an openwork gilt howdah and mounted on the back of an elephant richly caparisoned, covered with brocade draperies. The emperor is protected by a golden wide-screen. The mahout and the assistant who holds a morchhal, are like the emperor wearing chainmail armor called "four mirrors" as composed of four metal plates. Their forearms are also sheathed in metal forms called dastana. Four men on foot, in a tight group, follow the elephant whose tusks are decorated with bells. a landscape of green hills surrounds them. Animal pious, wise, chaste and charitable according to ancient writers, often associated with royalty (it was the emblem of Julius Caesar!), the elephant symbolizes strength in India, luxury equanimity. One of the predecessors of Bahadur Shah I, Emperor Akbar attached great importance to elephants which he said were "built like a mountain and have the courage and ferocity of the lion." He had even established specific regulations for the maintenance of hundreds of elephants installed in the imperial stables. It is only with the opening of sea routes to India at the end of the fifteenth century that Europeans became familiar with the animal. In 1514, King Manuel I of Portugal had offered one to Pope Leo X. King Henry IV of France made himself brought one from India but  soon found it too cumbersome and got rid of it by offering to the Queen of England Elizabeth I! (Notice BnF)

  • Nombre de pièces : 1000
  • Taille : 48 X 68 cm.


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