"Four Women in a Palace Garden" India, Bundi, mid-18th Century

This exotic and atmospheric miniature from Bundi simply radiates the heat of a tropical night. The garden’s vegetation, especially the lush trees, could have inspired the French naivist Henri Rousseau. The four women stand like gaily adorned flowers, enjoying the evening while they await the master of the house, who seems to be symbolized by the peacock with tail spread out. Sounds in the background are the crackling of the “Roman candles,” the quacking of the ducks, and the distant creaking of the waterwheel.

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