Ink on paper
Image: 12.8 x 18.1 cm (5 1/16 x 7 1/8 in.); Overall: 20 x 25.3 cm (7 7/8 x 9 15/16 in.)
Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1969.65
Domesticated elephants had their tusks trimmed and decorated with gold rings.
Beginning with Babur, but especially with Akbar, the Mughal emperors displayed an enormous interest in and affection for the elephants of India. The palace housed many elephants, used by the royal court for practical tasks such as carrying heavy loads through rivers and over difficult ground, for charging into battle, and, sometimes, for executing captives. They were also used for entertainment purposes such as riding, ceremonial processions, hunting, and fighting. Royal elephants were cared for by trained staff and kept on a special diet. Their tusks, necks, and ankles were often decorated with golden chains and hoops encrusted with jewels and pearls.
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