Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Lion at Rest

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
ca. 1585
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: 8 x 6in. (20.3 x 15.2cm) Folio: 15 x 10 1/4in. (38.1 x 26cm) Mat: 19 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (48.9 x 36.2 cm) Frame: 20 1/4 x 15 1/4 in. (51.4 x 38.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Alice and Nasli Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Alice Heeramaneck, 1985
Accession Number:
Not on view
The Mughals had a great predilection for Indian fauna. Muraqqa (single-page) paintings with animal portraiture developed into a separate genre during the Mughal period. For the Mughals, lions symbolized power and when accompanied by a lamb or calf signified the existence of peace and justice. This painting, one of the early works of Mansur, belongs to the period of Akbar and shows a resting lion reclining in the bulrushes besides the edge of a lake where birds perch and flit amidst the bamboo grove. The lion raises his hind legs while lightly crossing the fore paws in one of his natural poses. The sense of an idyllic landscape is enhanced by insects hovering in search of flowering plants. The three different size borders that frame the painting are embellished with ghubara (fine gold sprinkling) and shafaq (coarse gold application) technique, and the outer most with stylized floral and leaf motifs on a slender vine.
Alice N. Heeramaneck, New York (until 1985; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "INDIA !," September 14, 1985.

Heeramaneck, Alice N. Masterpieces of Indian painting from the Former Collections of Nasli M. Heeramaneck. New York, 1984. p. 161, ill. pl. 195 (color).

Welch, Stuart Cary. "Art and Culture 1300–1900." In India!. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985. no. 104, pp. 168-9, ill. p. 168 (color).

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 137, ill. fig. 105 (color).

Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 43 (1995–1996). p. 11, ill. p. 11 (color).

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