Chand Bibi Hawking with Attendants in a Landscape

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: ca. 1700

Geography: Attributed to India, Deccan

Medium: Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on card-weight paper

Dimensions: 10 x 6 1/4in. (25.4 x 15.9cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 1999

Accession Number: 1999.403


This painting is an accomplished example of a theme that attained popularity in Deccani painting. Chand Bibi was a legendary queen of Ahmadnagar in the Deccan, who valiantly defended her fortress against the Mughal army in the sixteenth century. Her image became a popular subject in Deccani painting, and she is frequently depicted hawking, as in this work. Here she rides a white horse, whose lower half has been colored red with henna to symbolize its wading through blood (or bravery in battle). Three female attendants accompany her on foot; one holds up a ceremonial sunshade behind the queen while another leads the way ahead of the horse. The figures are skillfully executed and the receding background is filled with charming details of animals, birds, hunters, and scenes of Indian village life.