Zulfiqar Makes a Request to the Ants
Page from a dispersed series of the Banavedha
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Ants are often featured in Indian folktales as exemplars of unity, perseverance, and strength despite small size. This page is from a text apparently telling, from the local perspective, the story of a campaign by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir to subdue the Rajput state of Mewar (modern Udaipur). Along the right border march three lines of ants, from which two ants have stepped forward. Two men greet the ant delegates with respectfully folded hands while, mounted on a blue horse at center, "Emperor" Zulfiqar (probably the army commander rather than the Mughal emperor) holds out his hand toward the insects as if in conversation. The text says that Zulfiqar has just won a battle, and the artist shows this by placing two dead men at the bottom of the painting.