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Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Painting only: 5.2 x 10.5 cm (2 1/16 x 4 1/8 in.); Overall: 20 x 14.7 cm (7 7/8 x 5 13/16 in.)
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.30.a
Despite their disguises, the prince recognizes the two cooks.
Seated on a fine stool in the center, the king is astonished to receive his two handsome cooks, whom he had sent to seduce his soldier’s faithful wife. After she trapped them and kept them prisoner for weeks until the arrival of the king, she shaved their heads and forced them to dress as female servants to shame them for testing her fidelity.
Some folios in this manuscript were altered from their original compositions, creating discoloration in many areas. The yellow background was changed to lavender, the legs of the stool were shortened, and the king’s bolster lowered. The manuscript’s patron, the Mughal emperor Akbar, brought artists from many regions of India to work in his court, and some of their compositions and color choices were updated, apparently after they learned of Akbar’s stylistic preferences. This important manuscript, which is almost entirely in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection, is critical for understanding the early development of Mughal painting.
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