Gold gray black and white ruled lines.
A painted ink drawing in nim qalam of two buffaloes in combat attributed to the Akbar Period Mughal artist Miskin (active 1570-1604) and presently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (accession. no. 1983-258) depicts a similar combat - depicted there in the presence of excited handlers. The Mughal preference for naturalism, already so visible in the works of Miskin and other painters from the royal atelier, depict events at court and entertainments such as animal combats, which were frequently held by the Emperor.
In our present painting the context for the battle is left open to our imagination - was this a staged combat for the Emperor's entertainment like the Miskin buffalo fight or a clash that was observed in the wild - a battle for supremacy in the herd? The painting set within dark blue outer borders, with raised gold and light blue scrolling foliate designs.
For related Mughal depictions of a water buffalo, see Sotheby's New York, March 16 1988, lot 346, and Sotheby's London, June 20 1983, lot 143. For another related work, see S. C. Welch, India Art and Culture: 1300-1900, New York, 1985, p. 167, cat. 103.
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