Set against the dramatic backdrop of the cliffs that define the landscape of the small princely kingdom of Kota, a majestic tiger has just been shot by the king. As the symbolic embodiment of shakti, or divine creative energy, tigers were ritually offered by the king to his patron deity in the temple, which would lead to an increase in shakti for the kingdom as a whole. With such ritual offerings, it was thought that the king could secure prosperity and abundance for the realm. Noisemakers with a firebrand drive the tiger out of the forest, and men at the right keep bears at bay. Two small boats with women and musicians look on in admiration.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).