Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Maharaja Fateh Singh Hunting Female Bears

Attributed to Pannalai
dated 1917
Western India, Rajasthan, Udaipur
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Image: 13 3/8 x 18 1/4 in. (34 x 46.4 cm); Page: 21 7/8 x 17 15/16 in. (55.6 x 45.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 1992
Accession Number:
Not on view
The painting traditions of the princely state of Mewar, in Rajasthan, remained vital even into the early part of the twentieth century. Hunting and palace scenes were still the most popular subject, but artists began to employ more shading and perspective, likely in response to the increasing presence of photography at court. Numerous hunting scenes were painted during the reign of Fateh Singh (1884–1930), often radically unconventional compositions marked by large tracts of harsh landscape. Here the ruler, concealed in a treetop, shoots his rifle downward from point-blank range after having likely lured in the unfortunate bear with scented bait. The bear is depicted five times, creating a compelling narrative of the event. Skeletal trees and deep ravines cast in shadow add a startlingly bleak atmosphere to this shocking image of a kill.
Inscription: A Mewar clerical inscription on reverse, dated 1916 (VS 1973 asoj sud 10) with inventory no. 11/51
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Mewar," 1998.

New York. Asia Society. "In the Realm of Gods and Kings: Arts of India, Selections from the Polsky Collections and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 14, 2004–December 10, 2004.

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