Kailash Raj never fails to impress the spectators with his bewitching art. In this painting, he encapsulates a tiger hunt which he displays by illustrating dusty beige colored elephants, gracefully carved on the canvas, without missing any detail. Their wide round eyes and creased trunks are beautifully exhibited with the fine brush strokes, picturing them in an aggressive mode as they crush the helpless dusty cyber painted tigers who bleed with the deep scratches that succumb down their soul. The five elephants' bright white tusks protrude from their face as scarlet red, maroon and brown saddle cloths drape from their thick backs.These belligerent beings are towered by seven masculine figures who are appareled in vibrant colored jamas and stunning turbans, decorated with copper threads that enhance the fabric, giving them a royal look. Five of the riders take hold of wooden bows, targeting their arrows in the direction of both the defeated tigers, one of whom is attacked by a sharp dagger in his eye and the other struggles to escape as it bites one of the elephants.This thrilling scene is emblazoned in a rectangular brown colored frame etched with a lovely floral motif border that beautifies this piece. The backdrop twitches in lovely colors to exhibit a barren plain with scarce trees, painted in hues of olive green and sand brown tints. The background is sanctified by a gorgeously constructed white marble mosque that peeks from the framework with its poking minarets. It enfolds the ancient truth of seeking pleasure by killing animals and charging oppression on them only for the sake of leisurous activities, turning out to be the jackpot wall hanging for those who love hunting and paintings.
Watercolor on Paper
Artist Kailash Raj
11.8 inches X 20.5 inches
The Mughal school of painting runs parallel to the Mughal dynasty. It came into prominence in the sixteenth century, during the reign of king Akbar. It reached its zenith under the patronage of Akbar’s grandson – king Jahangir. The reign of the latter’s successor king Shah Jahan saw its decline and finally under the unsympathetic Aurangzeb it breathed its last. Indeed, as a school of art, the duration of Mughal painting was a limited one, extending only over approximately two and a half centuries. Actually, it has often been referred to as not exactly a school, but rather an exceptionally brilliant phase in Indian art.
The roots of Mughal painting lay in Samarkand and Herat, where under the patronage of the Timurid kings, Persian art reached its apogee. Babur, a descendant of Timur, and the founder of the Mughal dynasty, speaks of a person named ‘Bihzad’ as ‘a most eminent painter’. It was with the descendants of Bihzad and the deep personal interest taken by Akbar, the grandson of king Babur, that the Mughal school of art started off with a flourish.
Regarding the aesthetics of Mughal painting, one exceptional feature is its commitment to realism or the delineation of likeness. The subjects were majorly drawn from the extremely rich and magnificent court life under the Mughals. That this was a flourishing art during Akbar’s reign is borne out by the list of more than forty painters found in a book written during his era.
However, it was under Akbar’s son Jehangir that Mughal painting gained its highest peaks. Not only portraits and hunting scenes, but also scientific studies of botany and natural history found favor with the artists under the king’s support. The Mughal painters were asked to paint unusual specimens of flora and fauna in their exact likeness. Some of these skilfully painted pictures have survived till today, narrating to us the uniqueness of those rich times.
Under the reign of Shajahan, son of Jahangir, the Mughal school of painting entered its decline. The actual treatment of the subject matter is replaced with more decorative embellishments like rich flowery borders etc. Under Shahjahan architecture scaled new peaks (Taj Mahal etc.), but painting deteriorated. Finally, with the rise of Aurangzeb, Mughal painting breathed its last.