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Sujan Singh of Bikaner and Ladies Shooting Heron from a Terrace

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This painting depicts a young Sujan Singh (r. 1700-35) of Bikanier shooting herons from a palace terrace. He aims his matchlock gun at a group of heron circling in the sky. Behind him, a princess points to the group of birds, while a female attendant holds a fly whisk. On the left side of the composition, another female attendant picks up a slain heron. The figure behind her carries another matchlock gun. She may be a princess herself, as the attendant behind her holds a standard above her head, a symbol of imperial status. The painting may depict a friendly shooting competition between Sujan Singh and the princess. Female royalty also participated in hunting activities, as it was considered a demonstration of their grace, beauty, and intellect.
Department of Islamic & Later Indian Art Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum Gift in gratitude to John Coolidge Gift of Leslie Cheek Jr. Anonymous Fund in memory of Henry Berg Louise Haskell Daly Alpheus Hyatt Richard Norton Memorial Funds and through the generosity of Albert H. Gordon and Emily Rauh Pulitzer; formerly in the collection of Stuart Cary Welch Jr.
Title: Sujan Singh of Bikaner and Ladies Shooting Heron from a Terrace
Description:
This painting depicts a young Sujan Singh (r.
1700-35) of Bikanier shooting herons from a palace terrace.
He aims his matchlock gun at a group of heron circling in the sky.
Behind him, a princess points to the group of birds, while a female attendant holds a fly whisk.
On the left side of the composition, another female attendant picks up a slain heron.
The figure behind her carries another matchlock gun.
She may be a princess herself, as the attendant behind her holds a standard above her head, a symbol of imperial status.
The painting may depict a friendly shooting competition between Sujan Singh and the princess.
Female royalty also participated in hunting activities, as it was considered a demonstration of their grace, beauty, and intellect.

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