Exhibitions/ Art Object

A Raja Smoking a Hookah

ca. 1690–1710
India (Rajasthan, Kota)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
6 1/4 x 4 5/16 in. (15.9 x 11 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Wendy Findlay, 1981
Accession Number:
Not on view
By the last quarter of the seventeenth century, artists at Kota had already begun producing depictions of court life. Here, an unidentified raja is seated on a terrace covered with a floral carpet. He is smoking a hookah. His left hand simultaneously guides the hose toward his mouth and holds a sprig of flowers. His right arm rests on a large, striped bolster. A box for pan (betel nut), another intoxicant, is set before him.

The painting combines elements of the Rajput, Deccani, and Mughal styles. The saturated color in the lower half of the painting is typically Rajput, as is the shallow space. The idea of portraiture likely was inspired by Mughal or Deccani models, as was the pale green background of the painting.
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