Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
circa 1690 CE
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour on paper
35.2 x 23.7 cm
A young prince sets off on horseback accompanied by four musicians playing the tambourine, drum and vinas (stringed instruments). Two inscriptions on the reverse side of this folio suggest the identity of this seemingly royal figure. One is written in Sanskrit and the other, in Persian, appears to be a translation of the former. It claims the subject is “Nat” the first son of Makhiya Malhar Rag and describes the image, saying that the figure “is riding a horse and holds two swords, one fastened to his body and the other [drawn] over his shoulder and he is prepared for and going to war”. The equestrian figure is also described as “wheat-coloured” and his horse “marked with blood [-coloured] spots”. The Muslim courts of India combined indigenous instruments like vinas with others common at the Persian court. They were used for a wide range of occasions, including military contexts.
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