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Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Sheet: 26.3 x 15.6 cm (10 3/8 x 6 1/8 in.); Image: 22.7 x 12.2 cm (8 15/16 x 4 13/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2005.145.36.b
The books next to newborn Jesus indicate that his birth fulfills a prophecy.
In this Nativity scene, familiar in Christian contexts, Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus to the three Magi, who have placed their crowns on the ground in homage to the King of Kings. The three Magi are portrayed in Portuguese costumes to indicate to a Mughal audience that they are foreigners who believed in Christ. The artist cleverly and humorously indicates that the Magi have just arrived in Bethlehem by depicting their three camels in the bottom corner. One exhausted camel’s tongue hangs out the side of his mouth, while the other two animals lean eagerly toward a pair of water jugs.
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