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

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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 Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. She also serves as the Deputy Director for the Dunhuang Foundation. Parikh specializes in South Asian and Islamic painting as well as arms and armor. Prior to her current positions, Parikh worked at the Worcester Art Museum; 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. Parikh has lectured nationally and internationally, as well as published extensively. Her first book, The Khalili Falnamah, was published in 2022. You can follow her arms and armor Instagram account.