Lion at Rest

Not on view

The Mughals had a great predilection for Indian fauna. Muraqqa (single-page) paintings with animal portraiture developed into a separate genre during the Mughal period. For the Mughals, lions symbolized power and when accompanied by a lamb or calf signified the existence of peace and justice. This painting, one of the early works of Mansur, belongs to the period of Akbar and shows a resting lion reclining in the bulrushes besides the edge of a lake where birds perch and flit amidst the bamboo grove. The lion raises his hind legs while lightly crossing the fore paws in one of his natural poses. The sense of an idyllic landscape is enhanced by insects hovering in search of flowering plants. The three different size borders that frame the painting are embellished with ghubara (fine gold sprinkling) and shafaq (coarse gold application) technique, and the outer most with stylized floral and leaf motifs on a slender vine.

Lion at Rest, Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper

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