Buffaloes in Combat

Attributed to Miskin

Not on view

Animal combats were a favorite form of entertainment at the Mughal court, viewed by the emperor, his courtiers, and guests from a terrace or rampart. Miskin, Akbar's best animal painter, may well have sketched this scene from life. While he has captured the excitement of the fiercely partisan royal servants on the ground, they look unsubstantial compared to the thrusting power of the buffaloes' bodies. The rounded haunch, the long straight line of the back, the bulging muscles of shoulder and neck of the animal on the left all point to inexorable victory, already sensed by the other, pushed off balance, with a foreleg curling under him. Only a great artist could give the struggle such a palpable presence.

Buffaloes in Combat, Attributed to Miskin (active ca. 1570–1604), Ink, watercolor, and gold on paper

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