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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Royal Elephants from Mughal India

(from 28th Apr until 26th Sep 2010)

A selection of paintings from the distinguished collection of the artist Howard Hodgkin.

Detail of The elephant Ganesh Gaj, north India, about 1660 (Lent by Howard Hodgkin, Museum No: LI118

Introduction

Elephants were highly valued by the rulers of India, for their power in battle and their majestic dignity as ceremonial mounts. From around 1570 to 1750, many superb elephant portraits or studies of elephants in action were painted by the court artists of the Mughal emperors, the Deccani sultans or the Hindu Maharajas of Rajasthan. The court of Kota in south-east Rajasthan is famous above all for the verve and energy of its elephant paintings and drawings.

This group of paintings and brush-drawings, mostly of the Mughal and Kota schools, has been selected from the distinguished collection of the artist Howard Hodgkin. A passionate collector of Indian paintings since his schooldays, Hodgkin has long favoured elephant subjects as one of the main themes in his collecting. Throughout the ages Indian artists have indeed shown a strong affinity for this noble animal and an intuitive sympathy in depicting it. They have always known how to convey a sense of its massive volumes and its grace in motion, its wise intelligence and its playful charm.

The elephant Ganesh Gaj and rider (LI118.55) The elephant Ganesh Gaj and rider (LI118.55)
Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephant from Mughal India exhibition east wall. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephant from Mughal India exhibition east wall.   Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephants from Mughal India exhibition vitrine. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephants from Mughal India exhibition vitrine.   Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephant from Mughal India exhibition. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Royal Elephant from Mughal India exhibition.
Notice

Objects from past exhibitions may have now returned to our stores or a lender. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so please contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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