• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2024

    Indian and Southeast Asian Art

    16 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 475

    A folio from the Polier Album, Magic Camel

    ANNOTATED IN FRENCH, "NO. 8 CHAMEAU MAGIQUE"
    INDIA, OUDH, CIRCA 1750

    Price Realised  

    A folio from the Polier Album, Magic Camel
    Annotated in French, "No. 8 Chameau Magique"
    India, Oudh, circa 1750
    peri strumming a harp and seated in a howdah on a camel composed of musicians and animals, striding in a green landscape with high horizon line, surrounded by a dark blue border inside a beige border with white and green flowers
    Opaque pigments and gold on wasli
    7½ x 5 3/8 in. (19 x 13.7 cm.), image
    14 x 9 7/8 in. (35.6 x 25.1 cm.), folio


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    The image of a composite camel has a long history in Indian painting. The type in which the animal bears a peri, the winged female musician playing a harp, is well-established in the canon of Mughal painting. The choice and arrangement of the animals and male musicians to make up the camel's body closely corresponds with a seventeenth century Mughal example, now in the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection; see Robert J. Del Bonta, "Reinventing Nature: Mughal Composite Animal Painting," in Flora and Fauna in Mughal Art, ed. Som Prakash Verma, Marg Publications, vol. 50, No. 3, March 1999, p. 71, fig. 2. For further discussion on composite animal painting, see ibid., "Indian Composite Paintings: A Playful Art," Orientations, January 1996, p. 31-38. The present lot, with its detailed drawing and rich use of color, is an exceptional example of this type.

    Provenance

    Antoine Louis Henri Polier, acquired between 1767-68
    Possibly William Beckford, after 1802
    English Private Collection, 1960s