"The Tortoise Ferries the Monkey", Folio from a Kalila wa Dimna

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This manuscript contains seventy-eight paintings and many text folios telling the famous tales of the jackals Kalila and Dimna. Based on the book of ancient Indian animal fables, the Panchatantra written by Vidyapati (Bidpai), the stories spread all over the Middle East where they became wildly popular. This manuscript has a strong flavor of Mamluk Egypt in the figure styles and bold drawings, with hints of Ottoman tulips and Safavid turbans. However, the burnt orange palette and darkly-inked lines have led to an attribution to Sultanate Gujarat where it is suggested this manuscript was copied from an Egyptian original. Its life in India is also attested by a Devanagari inscription at the end, although the rest of the Arabic text is written in a strong, left-leaning naskh-like script.

"The Tortoise Ferries the Monkey", Folio from a Kalila wa Dimna, Ink and opaque watercolor on paper

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