The principal background palette of mossy green and white, capped with a white band and cloudy blue sky - as well as compositional devices like the curiously orderly linear flight of insects and arching wispy willow are indicators of a Bilaspur origin (previously suggested in conversation with the present owner by Toby Falk).
The subject is unusual. The mynah bird is a "talking" bird - capable of imitating human speech and appears here locked in a conversation with the holyman - either receiving or delivering a message. A talking bird - like a winged angel - may be seen metaphorically as a conduit or messenger communicating between heaven and earth. Another earlier painting from the Deccan finds our sadhu's female Shaivite counterpart depicted as a yogini with a mynah bird (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: inventory no. IIA.31) standing in an surrealistic dream landscape mysteriously conversing with a tame mynah.
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