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In this masterful and somewhat personal work in the natural world genre, Mansur deftly extended the chromatic range across creature and foliage alike, underscoring the chameleon’s wonderful ability to blend with its surroundings. The monochromatic branches form a foil to the chameleon and the foliage with which it is has harmonized itself. Already in the employ of Prince Salam (the future Jahangir), Mansur no doubt intended this engaging image to capture his young patron’s attention.

Chameleon, Mansur (active ca. 1589–1626), Opaque watercolor and ink on paper, India (Mughal court at Lahore or Allahabad)

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