Maharaja Bhupat Pal of Basohli smoking

India, Mankot, Himachal Pradesh

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 693

The looming figure of Bhupat Pal dwarfs the hookah bearer who attends him. This is not entirely an artistic invention, since the maharaja was known to be a giant of a man, renowned for his enormous appetite. Seated on a patterned carpet, he rests his raised elbow on a large bolster and holds the mouthpiece of his hookah. As Basohli’s founder, Bhupat Pal was a fierce champion for his kingdom, and clearly his reputation lived on well after his death, since this portrait was painted some fifty years after his assassination in Delhi, in 1635. It was likely commissioned by his son and successor, Kirpal Pal (r. ca. 1678–93).

Maharaja Bhupat Pal of Basohli smoking, Opaque watercolor, gold and silver on paper, India, Mankot, Himachal Pradesh

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