c. 1585; border added probably 1700s
Gum tempera and gold on paper
Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.298
Sheep with black and white markings like this are called Jacob sheep.
The ram in this painting is a particularly well-groomed animal that was probably kept in the royal menagerie and attended to by special keepers. The puffs of hair on the ram’s back have been colored with henna, and he wears a decorative chain of bells across his chest. The Mughal rulers collected and exhibited specimens of various animals from their territories out of a scientific interest as well as a desire to display the extent of their influence over the land and its inhabitants.
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