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A royal ram with a gold chain

June 30, 1556
Animals and Plants
Akbar 1556–1605




A royal ram with a gold chain c. 1585; border added probably 1700s India, Mughal Opaque watercolor 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 DID YOU KNOW? Sheep with black and white markings like this are called Jacob sheep. DESCRIPTION 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. INSCRIPTION Urdu inscription at top, in nasta‘liq script: sheep; Hindi inscription under left corner of painting, in devanagari script: Shri 6; Hindi inscription below painting, in devanagari script: 2, sheep; Hindi inscription, bottom center, in devanagari script: 674 EXHIBITION HISTORY Main Asian Rotation (Gallery 245); January 5, 2015 - April 27, 2015. The Cleveland Museum of Art (7/31/2016-10/23/2016); Art and Stories from Mughal India, cat. 12, p. 193. Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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