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Jurgasi : “Maharaja Jagat Singh Hunting” (1734-1751)

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One of the favorite pastimes of the Rajputana nobility was hunting, a subject frequently depicted in secular painting in Rajasthan. Often much larger than other Indian paintings, hunting scenes glorified the pleasures and splendors of these stately affairs. This colorful painting depicts a royal hunt conducted by the Maharaja Jagat Singh of Udaipur. An inscription on the reverse side of the painting mentions the Maharaja’s name along with the hunting party’s other participants, including the Maharaja’s brother. The hunt takes place in a detailed landscape of hills and varied vegetation. The animals (tiger, bear, wild boar, deer, stag, and antelope) are rounded up and diverted by servants (who shoot firecrackers) toward the shooting box at the center of the composition, where the royal members of the hunting party await their prey. Another group of servants with dogs approaches from the opposite direction to cut off the animals’ route of escape. Some beasts are already killed or wounded, while others are trying desperately to run for their lives. The painting is signed on the reverse by the artist — a rare occurrence in Indian painting. The name reads “Jugarsi, son of Jiva.”

(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).

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