Oct 14, 2021
Nov 3, 2011
Nov 3, 2011

The Parrot Addresses Khujasta at the Beginning of the Twelfth Night, from a Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot)

The Parrot Addresses Khujasta at the Beginning of the Twelfth Night, from a Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot)

c. 1560

Part of a set. See all set records

Tara 1

(Indian, active 1550s-1590s)

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: 9.1 x 10.3 cm (3 9/16 x 4 1/16 in.)

Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.95.a


Did you know?

The gauzy fabric that Khujasta wears over her sari is called an odhani.


Every night for 52 nights the sly domesticated parrot encourages his master's wife Khujasta to meet her lover under cover of darkness. Just before she leaves, he mentions a topic from a tantalizing tale; she becomes so curious that she cannot go out before hearing the whole story. By the time the story ends, dawn breaks, and it is too late for her to go out unnoticed. The gold sky and geometric tile patterns are derived from Persian sources while Khujasta's figure shown in profile and style of dress are purely Indian. The artist has chosen to tilt the carpet up in defiance of realistic perspective to show off the fine arabesque motif. The checkered bedspread calls attention to the empty bed and Khujasta's longing to be with her lover.

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