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Painting the Royal Hunt in India: A Prince on Horseback Hunting a Lion


Painting the Royal Hunt in India:
A Prince on Horseback Hunting a Lion


Rachel Parikh



The royal hunt was more than just a popular pastime amongst South Asia’s royalty and elite. The sport was used as means to showcase their privilege, justify their rule or future rule, establish their legitimacy, and exhibit their inherent qualities of kingship, such as bravery. Through an unusual painting in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum, we take a look at the importance of this societal practice.



Thomas T. Allsen, The Royal Hunt in Eurasian History, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

Julie E. Hughes, Animal Kingdoms: Hunting, the Environment, and Power in the Indian Princely States, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2013.

Vijaya Ramadas Mandala, Shooting a Tiger: Big-Game Hunting and Conservation in Colonial India, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2019.

Rachel Parikh, “The Thrill, The Peril: The Royal Hunt in India at the Harvard Art Museums”, Orientations, 50:6, 2019, pp. 80-91.

Shaha Parpia, “The Imperial Mughal Hunt: A Pursuit of Knowledge”, in Ilm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam, edited by Samer Akkach, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, 2019.



Rachel Parikh, “Painting the Royal Hunt in India: A Prince on Horseback Hunting a Lion,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 15 September 2020.

Rachel Parikh is the Assistant Curator of Asian and Middle Eastern Art at Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA). She specializes in South Asian and Islamic painting as well as arms and armor. Prior to joining the Worcester Art Museum, Rachel worked at the Harvard Art Museums; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

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