History of the series:
Charles LeBrun (d. 1690) submitted the complete designs for this highly successful series depicting The Battles and The Triumphs of Alexander the Great to the Gobelins workshops between 1660 and 1673. The set consisted of five main panels, but the three battle scenes were of such proportions that the designs of each of these were divided into three separate panels, thus making a total of eleven subjects. This particular tapestry forms the middle section of The Defeat of Porus. The set was extensively copied in Brussels and Aubusson from engravings made before 1679 by Grard Edelinck.
Porus (d. between 231 and 316 B.C.) ruled the region between the Hydaspes (where this battle took place in 326 B.C.) and Acesines rivers in Punjab. He resisted Alexander III the Great's (356 - 323 B.C.) invasion, but his slow-moving infantry with elephants, which was the most threatening aspect to Alexander's cavalry, was out-matched by Alexander's quick-moving army. Alexander allowed Porus to retain his kingdom, after his defeat, and possibly even other conquered areas as Macedonian subordinate ruler.