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Horse

The depiction of an emaciated horse, with the tortured contours of the unfortunate animal sketched against marbling executed directly on the paper, was a specialty of the courts of the Deccan in south India, whose artistic works were influenced both by Persia and the Mughal court.

The significance of the emaciated horse can be interpreted in a number of ways. It is often thought that this pathetic creature is symbolic of human mortality and weakness, while some scholars interpret the image as related to mystical practices of fasting to attain spiritual understanding.

Deccan Sultanates (Bijapur), 17th century
Ink and opaque watercolour on paper
MS.653.2008

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