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A Wife Seeks Justice or Mercy

India, Himachal Pradesh, Guler style

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 693

The precise subject of this painting has defied identification, but the theme likely relates to a scandalous event, perhaps a sexual transgression on the part of the woman depicted. The events unfold in two dramatic scenes set in an urban panorama, with the main protagonists being the wife, her husband, and her mother-in-law, along with witnesses and the local ruler sitting in judgment. The town is identified by inscription in the upper right area of sky in local Takri script as dadhwal, probably referring to the small Punjab Hill state of Dada-Siba.

A Wife Seeks Justice or Mercy, Opaque watercolor on paper, India, Himachal Pradesh, Guler style

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Photo © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford