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The Maharaja of Mysore on his state elephant
Date: approx. 1903-1908
Materials: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: H. 25 in × W. 18 in., H. 63.5 cm × W. 45.7 cm (framed) H. 22 in × W. 15 1/4 in, H. 55.9 cm × W. 38.7 cm (image)
Credit Line: From the Collection of William K. Ehrenfeld, M.D.
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2005.64.120
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 5

Description

Label:

An imperial elephant is immediately identifiable by its rich dress of luxurious textiles and gold and silver ornaments, as well as by the materials and decoration of the howdah on its back in which its royal owner would travel. The elephant depicted here recalls Captain Mundy's description of a royal elephant from more than seventy years earlier: with its head and trunk colorfully painted; blankets and coverings of gold and silver embroidered on velvet or silk; and elaborate ornaments on its tusks, ears, neck, and feet.

After 1857,when India became a colony of the British Empire, Indian rulers were incorporated into an uneasy and complex system of governance. They lost their independence and instead became ''princes" under the authority of Queen Victoria of England and her successors. In such a context, public displays of kingship by Indian royalty-such as impressive elephant processions-took on greater prominence and more complicated overtones. Elaborate ceremonials, for example,visibly kept up dynastic traditions for the Indian rulers and served as reminders of a glorious past.


More Information

Inscriptions: Signed in lower left corner "Hugo v.p." (from the Interaction of Cultures catalogue)
Exhibition History: "Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Paintings, 1780-1910," deYoung Museum, San Francisco. (February 7 - May 3, 1998)

"Elephants on Parade", 2/18/2006 - 8/6/2006, Tateuchi Gallery

"Elephants Without Number", Asian Art Museum, 11/24/2015-6/26/2016
Label:

An imperial elephant is immediately identifiable by its rich dress of luxurious textiles and gold and silver ornaments, as well as by the materials and decoration of the howdah on its back in which its royal owner would travel. The elephant depicted here recalls Captain Mundy's description of a royal elephant from more than seventy years earlier: with its head and trunk colorfully painted; blankets and coverings of gold and silver embroidered on velvet or silk; and elaborate ornaments on its tusks, ears, neck, and feet.

After 1857,when India became a colony of the British Empire, Indian rulers were incorporated into an uneasy and complex system of governance. They lost their independence and instead became ''princes" under the authority of Queen Victoria of England and her successors. In such a context, public displays of kingship by Indian royalty-such as impressive elephant processions-took on greater prominence and more complicated overtones. Elaborate ceremonials, for example,visibly kept up dynastic traditions for the Indian rulers and served as reminders of a glorious past.


Inscriptions: Signed in lower left corner "Hugo v.p." (from the Interaction of Cultures catalogue)
Exhibition History: "Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Paintings, 1780-1910," deYoung Museum, San Francisco. (February 7 - May 3, 1998)

"Elephants on Parade", 2/18/2006 - 8/6/2006, Tateuchi Gallery

"Elephants Without Number", Asian Art Museum, 11/24/2015-6/26/2016
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