The Thrill and the Peril: The Royal Hunt in India at the Harvard Art Museums
The hunt, or shikar, is an integral part of South Asia’s anthropological, social and royal history. A vibrant tradition of hunting imagery is revealed in visual references from the ancient Vedic period up to India’s independence in 1947, in and on paintings, photographs and ceramics and even the weapons themselves. The Harvard Art Museums’ (HAM) renowned collection of South Asian works on paper includes sketches, drawings and paintings relating to and depicting the royal hunt. Using several highlights from this collection, as well as from HAM’s holdings of arms and armour, Rachel Parikh’s essay will examine the various tools, methods and practices of the Indian royal hunt, both as a custom and as a symbol of power and sovereignty.