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A PRINCE IN A GARDEN. Deccan, about 1670-80. The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
A PRINCE IN A GARDEN


A prince, seated on a high chair in his garden, is entertained by three girls. One plays the vina, another offers pan, while a third, dressed as a page in European costume of about 1660, proffers a glass of wine. A fourth girl, who embraces a flowering tree, is teasing a fawn. Figures in European costume occur on wall-paintings in a water-pavilion at Kumatgi, a pleasure-resort ten miles east of Bijapur. The Indian courts of the 17th century were as diverted by this exotic finery, as their European contemporaries were with Chinese porcelain or Indian stuffs.
The style of the painting is strongly influenced by the Mughal school of Aurangzeb's reign. The occasional surprising note in the colourthe girl's pink breeches and the prince's olive-green trousersgive it a light and amusing prettiness, rare in northern painting.
The picture is signed Rahim Dakani ("of the Deccan"). A picture of a girl in the Victoria and Albert Museum is also attributed to this artist.