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Gum tempera and gold on paper
Page: 34 x 20.7 cm (13 3/8 x 8 1/8 in.); Painting: 18.4 x 10.1 cm (7 1/4 x 4 in.)
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 2013.302
A recurring theme in the art of India is the relationship between rulers and the religious practitioners who were believed to control supernatural forces that would aid in the success of rule and war. A prince has come to the abode of a Sufi mystic dervish, who sits with two acolytes in front of a rocky cave that may be his dwelling. The dervish appears to be blessing the prince and the weapons carried by his retinue to help assure success in an upcoming battle. In the foreground, a princely figure leading a horse meets surreptitiously with an eccentric figure holding a squat vessel, possibly filled with a narcotic substance such as bhang, used by many groups of mystics to aid in reaching trance states.
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