Page from Tales of a Parrot (Tuti-nama): Thirty-first night: The donkey, in a tiger’s skin, reveals his identity by braying aloud

Page from Tales of a Parrot (Tuti-nama): Thirty-first night: The donkey, in a tiger’s skin, reveals his identity by braying aloud

1558-1560

Part of a set. See all set records

attributed to Basavana

(Indian, active c. 1560–1600)

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.207.a

Description

This painting illustrates a story about a merchant who owned a donkey but did not have enough money to feed him. He was able to secure a lion’s skin, in which he dressed his donkey at night, so he could forage freely in fields, frightening away the owners’ watchmen, seen here scrambling up in trees for safety. He succeeded for a time and grew fat and healthy, until a nearby donkey brayed, and he instinctively answered, revealing his true identity.

The distinctive painterly style of this page appears to be the work of one of Akbar’s most talented artists, Basawan. The free brushwork is complex but assured with a soft and wet application of color in the billowing grass, trees, and the furry texture of the lion skin, rendered here as that of a tiger.

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