Buffaloes in Combat

Artist: Attributed to Miskin (active ca. 1570–1604)

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: late 16th century

Geography: Attributed to India

Medium: Ink, watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: 6 7/8 x 9 1/2in. (17.5 x 24.1cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.258


Animal combats were a favorite form of entertainment at the Mughal court, viewed by the emperor, his courtiers, and guests from a terrace or rampart. Miskin, Akbar's best animal painter, may well have sketched this scene from life. While he has captured the excitement of the fiercely partisan royal servants on the ground, they look unsubstantial compared to the thrusting power of the buffaloes' bodies. The rounded haunch, the long straight line of the back, the bulging muscles of shoulder and neck of the animal on the left all point to inexorable victory, already sensed by the other, pushed off balance, with a foreleg curling under him. Only a great artist could give the struggle such a palpable presence.