Zebu The Bull by Manish Soni

Title: Zebu the Bull
Artist: Manish Soni
School: Jaipur
Dimensions: 9x13cm
Price: £ 50.00

The natural history drawings by the painters mirrored the personal wish of Jehangir to preserve the likeness of strange and rare birds, animals, trees and flowers for posterity but also reveal change in the attitude for bringing nature close to man. These paintings discarded the stereotyped scenes of battles and atrocities of the earlier days.

This is a lively picture of zebu, a domesticated Asiatic bovine animal with a large hump over its shoulder. It is filled with action and is expressive of its mood and character. Contrary to the Persian mode of depicting animals which is purely linear and descriptive in character, the animal is portrayed here as an ‘individual’ with an emphasis on physiognomy. The painter’s aesthetics lends his creation a quality of earthly charm and pleasure.

Zebu is in a graceful posture with its forelegs and hind in movement. The horns are sturdy and erect. The wide eye and the mouth line gives it a very lively expression. Its decorative body cloth is rich and held in place with the help of its hump. It has tassels hanging from it. In its neck also, there are numerous chains, some with bells. The long tail lags behind as it rushes forward.

The artist has avoided adding superfluous details and overloading the background. There are a few adept touches to depict foliage; realism, and graphic conciseness.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specialises on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.