This painting is a graphic study of the elephants; their taut muscles curving and folding over each other with their forceful movements and their legs striding widely, in an attempt to escape. The elephant who has broken off all the four chains is running ahead and is being driven into an arched entrance probably that of a tent with the help of the tamed one following behind. The attendants hold burning sticks, known as charkhi to frighten the animal.
The inscription on the top left corner mentions that the elephants Bhalerao and Anup belong to Rao Surjan (1554–1583 CE). Various contours of the elephant are effectively rendered with masterly brushwork and shading against the background of the plain paper. It is tinted in places and was probably intended to be partially painted, particularly in the costumes of the human figures. The painting is obviously not contemporary. The study of elephants in different actions was done by the Bundi artist as early as the 17th century, evidence of which still survives at the Badal Mahal murals at Bundi.
Indian Miniature Paintings
Ink and Tempera on Paper
26.5 x 54 cm