Chand Bibi Hawking with Attendants in a Landscape, Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on card-weight paper

Chand Bibi Hawking with Attendants in a Landscape

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
ca. 1700
Attributed to India, Deccan
Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on card-weight paper
10 x 6 1/4in. (25.4 x 15.9cm)
Credit Line:
Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 1999
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting is an accomplished example of a theme that attained popularity in Deccani painting. Chand Bibi was a legendary queen of Ahmadnagar in the Deccan, who valiantly defended her fortress against the Mughal army in the sixteenth century. Her image became a popular subject in Deccani painting, and she is frequently depicted hawking, as in this work. Here she rides a white horse, whose lower half has been colored red with henna to symbolize its wading through blood (or bravery in battle). Three female attendants accompany her on foot; one holds up a ceremonial sunshade behind the queen while another leads the way ahead of the horse. The figures are skillfully executed and the receding background is filled with charming details of animals, birds, hunters, and scenes of Indian village life.
[ Sam Fogg, London, by 1997–99; sold to MMA]
Barcelona. City History Museum of Barcelona. "The Human Condition: The Image of Man in Art," May 10, 2004–September 26, 2004, p. 116.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fifty Years of Collecting Islamic Art," September 23, 2013–January 26, 2014, no catalogue.

"The Dream of a Shadow." In La Condicion Humana; The Human Condition. Barcelona: Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat de Barcelona (MHCB), 2004. p. 116, ill. p. 116 (color).