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A Prince Restrains a Rampaging Elephant

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Kota, Rajasthan, India, Asia

c. 1780

Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver-colored paint on paper

Image: 11 1/4 × 16 13/16 inches (28.6 × 42.7 cm) Sheet: 11 7/8 × 17 1/2 inches (30.2 × 44.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004

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From early in Indian history, elephant training was considered a science and entire books were written on the subject. Elephant combats of various sorts were a popular sport among Indian rulers. Elephants, however, have a tendency to become enraged if hurt, startled, or during breeding times and this elephant has clearly run amok. Nothing deters him: not the pointed goad wielded by his princely rider, nor the whirling firecrackers of his keepers, nor the whip of a rider whose black horse shies from the enraged beast.