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Title:Elephant Execution of Prisoners (recto); Page with Calligraphy Samples (verso)
Date Made:19th century
Materials:opaque water base colors and gold on paper
Place Made:North India
Measurements:sight: 8 7/8 x 5 1/8 in.; 22.5425 x 13.0175 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1981.27.12
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Kenneth Galbraith (Catherine Atwater, class of 1934)
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

Four elephants rampage in the center of an arena, riders on their back leading them towards a bloody and violent execution of several men, with Persian text above and below

Label Text:
Two images, recto: elephants are an Indian artistic specialty; depicted fighting, marching in the battle field, carrying the emperors and their entourage in royal processions, or just portrayed with lovingly observed details of physiognomy; this painting, with elephants unleashed for a bloody execution, is unusual,verso: from the 16th century onwards, many collectors and connoisseurs assembled samples of masterful writing and painting in albums, an example of which is this sheet; when the album is documented and has remained intact, it can be a rich source to gauge a patron's taste or to reconstruct the artistic or educational intent of the particular assemblage; in this page, the two writing samples in Persian are unrelated; the text blocks, on top and bottom, are from a "ghazal" (love poetry) by a hand different from that of the central piece; written in the elegant cursive style of "nasta'liq", the main text in prose celebrates a garden; this part is signed by a certain "shirin qalam" (sweet pen), a title given to more than one famous calligrapher.

exterior; landscapes; animals; men; costume; deaths; crime

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