Elephants were highly prized at Indian courts, greatly appreciated as gifts, and eagerly sought as booty in military campaigns. Paintings of several admired elephants were made at the Mughal court, much as portraits were made of courtiers and nobles. Khem Karan, whose signature appears at the bottom of the picture, was a well-known painter in Akbar’s atelier.
Signature: In Persian along bottom border: 'Work of Khem Karan'
Kouchakji Frères, Paris (sale catalogue 1915, no. 331); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, until 1925; sold to MMA]
National Arts Club of New York City. "Chinese and Indian Art," December 10, 1942–January 24, 1943, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Indian Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1973–April 1, 1973, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Court Painting," March 25, 1997–July 6, 1997, no. 9.
Kouchakji Frères sale catalogue. American Art Association, 1918. no. 331.
Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). p. 43, ill. p. 43 (color).
Kossak, Steven M., ed. Indian Court Painting 16th–19th century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 9, p. 36, ill. (color).