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(Indian, active c. 1560–1600)
Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Overall: 20 x 14.3 cm (7 7/8 x 5 5/8 in.); Painting only: 10.2 x 10.7 cm (4 x 4 3/16 in.)
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.36.b
This leper king ruled a territory that stretched from Bhutan to Assam and Bengal.
The king of Kamarupa, which ironically means “body of erotic love,” had leprosy. The hunter brought the captured mother parrot to the king, assuring him that the bird knew a cure. The lavish use of gold indicates that this book was a costly production. The figure of the hunter reveals the talents of the artist Basavana, whose name is written in the right margin. Draped in rustic garments shaded to appear softly flowing, the hunter bends forward with a subtle look of shrewd expectancy as the king seems ready to pay a high price for the parrot. The billowing red curtain is one of Basavana’s signature motifs. Beyond is a tantalizing glimpse of the forest to which the parrot will soon escape to rejoin her children.
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