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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Attributed to Nainsukh, Indian
Raja Balwant Singh's Hunt
Work Type
February/March 1752
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Kashmir, Jasrota
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Sheet: 29.3 x 39.9 cm (11 9/16 x 15 11/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This scene takes place on the scenic banks of the river Tawi in the state of Jammu in northern India. Wearing a dark green jama, Raja Balwant Singh, king of Jasrota, leans forward with a sword in one hand to defend his elephant from an attacking lion. The scene is packed with intense action, all the retainers on foot and on horseback rushing forward to help. The mahaout elephant trainer is poised to push the elephant goad into the head of the lion. The sparse setting gives little clue to the foreground violence: the landscape is bare, dotted with just a few palash trees. The chaotic scene is witnessed by a distant hawk, who circles through the sky above.

Nainsukh was one of the most famous artists working in the Punjab Hills. Balwant Singh comissioned numerous portraits from Nainsukh, ranging from scenes of state audiences and royal hunts to intimate moments in the life of the ruler.
(label text from Sport of Kings exhibition January 2005).
Publication History

Stuart Cary Welch and Milo Cleveland Beach, Gods, Thrones, and Peacocks Northern Indian Painting from Two Traditions, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1965), p. 80, fig. 36

William G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills: A Survey and History of Pahari Miniature Painting, Sotheby Parke Bernet Inc. (London, 1973), vol. I, p. 203 - 204, no. 44; vol. II, p. 146, fig. 44

B.N. Goswamy and Eberhard Fischer, Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India, Artibus Asiae Publishers (Zürich, 1992), pp. 292-293, no. 122

B.N. Goswamy, Nainsukh of Guler: A great Indian painter from a small hill-state, Artibus Asiae Publishers (Zürich, 1997), p. 150 - 151, no. 51

Daniel Ehnbom, "Painting", Art of India: Prehistory to the Present, ed. Frederick Asher, Encyclopaedia Britannica (London, 2003), 221 - 244, p. 241, ill.

"Exhibitions in Brief", HALI (London, 2005), no. 139, p.113, p. 113

Milo Cleveland Beach, Eberhard Fischer, and B.N. Goswamy, ed., Masters of Indian Painting, exh. cat., Artibus Asiae Publishers (Zürich, 2011), p. 662, no. 14; p. 670, fig. 8

Exhibition History

Out of the Hills: Miniature Painting from Himalayan India, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/26/1984 - 07/08/1984

The Sport of Kings: Art of the Hunt in Iran and India, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/22/2005 - 06/26/2005

32Q: 2590 South and Southeast Asia, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/06/2019 - 07/31/2021

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at