Demons Fighting Over an Animal Limb
late 17th century
India (Rajasthan, Bikaner or the Deccan)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
11 9/16 x 7 5/16 in. (29.4 x 18.6 cm)
Gift of Doris Rubin, in memory of Harry Rubin, 1989
In this painting, set in a fantastic landscape with rocks, trees and a cityscape in the distance, two fearsome demons are seen quarreling over the leg of an animal. In the middle ground, three women dressed in typical Rajput fashion and carrying water pots, are oblivious to the demons in their midst. Demonic of this bizarreness are best known in Central Asian manuscript painting, and indeed this is probably their origin, transmitted to India via Persian models. The painter reveals himself as one trained in Rajasthan, probably in the Bikaner court, who was exposed to Deccani painting, either through travel or by access to Deccan paintings at his patron’s library.