Illustration to the Mahabharata, Bilaspur

Opaque pigment on paper

Image 21.5 x 29 cm. Circa 1660-1680

With red flags flying Sahadeva and his entourage march to the south for war. The main group that includes Sahadeva, drawn on an open carriage march in unison with their left arm outstretched and their right bent at their sides, a formula that creates the suggestion of their forward movement. The lead elephant, however, rears his trunk and front legs and his mahout turns with a raised hand as if to announce arrival at camp or the presence of the enemy, unseen beyond the edge of the page. It appears likely that the present page and one published by Archer from the Binney Collection and another from the Brooklyn Museum are from the same series. Although no inscription is noted by Archer, it seems the format and the treatment of faces, clothes and turbans, landscape and the pie-bald horse are all consistent. Also of note is the identical treatment of the horses’ shaded rectangular saddlecloths in the Binney page and the cover on the elephant in the present page.