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Rao Ram Singh’s Elephant Gone Amok

Rao Ram Singh’s Elephant Gone Amok

c. 1700

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Page: 20 x 41.6 cm (7 7/8 x 16 3/8 in.)

Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection; Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2018.177

Description

The maddened elephant’s ears flex forward and his tail rises up as he charges with little heed to the ropes, spears, and firebrands meant to control him. A deft use of line and crosshatching creates a sense of volume and dramatic areas of dense shadow. Spare but effective use of gold, as in the gleaming eye, further affirms the artist’s mastery of his subject, evident despite the stains and tears.
One of a few drawings that survive from an anonymous Kota master, this example conveys the energy and ferocity of this elephant’s maddened condition with intensity and power.

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