The dethroned frog Shapur seeks the help of the serpent, from a Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot): Twenth-sixth Night

The dethroned frog Shapur seeks the help of the serpent, from a Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot): Twenth-sixth Night

c. 1560

Part of a set. See all set records

Mughal India, court of Akbar

(reigned 1556–1605)

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

Overall: 20.3 x 14 cm (8 x 5 1/2 in.); Painting only: 7.5 x 10.1 cm (2 15/16 x 4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.182.a

Exhibition

Animal Fables of India (Indian art rotation)

Description

Shapur, who had long ruled as king of the frogs, was overthrown and exiled for cruelty. Seeking revenge on his political enemies, he sought the allegiance of a frog-eating serpent. The serpent’s lair is shown in cross section amid the heavily shaded rocks. A pipal tree (ficus religiosa), native to India, bends over the body of the frog.
This story is set in China, and the emphasis on the layers of shaded rocks may suggest the artist’s impression of a Chinese landscape. Moreover, the snake’s markings appear to be those of a Chinese Mountain pit viper.

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