Crimson Horned Pheasant (Satyr Tragapan)
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
This image was created by an Indian artist for a British patron. For eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British collectors, such exact depictions of birds and other denizens of the natural world provided a means to catalog and analyze a foreign and unknown land. Found exclusively in the Himalayas, the crimson horned pheasant must have been a curious sight to those more accustomed to European fauna. The precision with which the artist illustrated the splendidly patterned bird demonstrates the parallel interests in the biological sciences and fine arts that characterized Europe in the eighteenth century.