Elephants were prized for their strength and power in Mughal India, where they were used for hunting, military campaigns, and sport. In this work painted by Farrukh Chela, two mounted men control the elephants, which are adorned with gold chains, as they fight before an audience. Servants standing to the right watch as one of the riders drops his ankush (a metal rod used to control elephants). They hold fireworks on poles, prepared to help direct the elephant if necessary. Wearing rich gold and deep colors, Emperor Jahangir appears on horseback in the foreground. The margins of this page were added later, when the painting was inserted into an album shortly after Nadir Shah took control of Delhi in 1739.
[ E. Kalebdjian, New York, until 1912; sold to MMA]
Durham, NC. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. "The Art of India and Pakistan," February 19, 1985–April 20, 1985, no. 20.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 63, ill. fig. 34 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammadan Art. Iran Library. Tehran: Bongah Tarjomeh va Nashr Ketab, 1957. ill. fig. 34.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 3rd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1958. ill. fig. 34.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. Publications, 36.. Lahore: The Panjabi Adabi Academy, 1964. ill. fig. 34 (b/w).
Beach, Milo. The Art of India and Pakistan. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Institute of the Arts, 1985. no. 20, pp. 35-37, ill. p. 35 (b/w).