An Indian Bish-Khopra Lizard

Not on view

This painting of the Indian Bish-Khopra Lizard was commissioned by a member of the British East India Company, and as the Persian number in the corner indicates, it was part of a larger series of paintings illustrating the flora and fauna of India. The artist has depicted the full body of the lizard in meticulous detail, with colorful scales and sprawled limbs. The folio also includes a partial drawing of the lizard's head in profile, with its eyes closed and forked tongue projecting from its mouth through sharp teeth. Inscriptions in Persian and Latin identify this creature as a particular species of lizard of the genus Varanus bengalensis, sometimes known in English as "monitor lizards" due to their habit of resting on their hind legs and surveying for possible predators.

An Indian Bish-Khopra Lizard, Watercolor and ink on paper

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