Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Cranes And Ducks
Mughal, 18th century CE
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour and silver on paper
Page 31.5 x 22 cm; Image 28 x 18.2 cm
White ducks swim in a silvery-coloured stream flanked by four sarus red-headed cranes. The sarus crane (Grus antigone), the only resident breeding crane in India and southeast Asia, is also the world’s tallest flying bird. Perhaps the graceful creatures seen here flapping their wings and stretching their spindly long legs are Indian males, who can reach over six feet tall. Accurate depiction of the natural world was a beloved theme of the Mughals. The lyrical quality of the cranes’ movements, however, may suggest Deccani influence.
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