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History, India, Sikhs, Elephant Tiger Attack, Antique Lithograph, 19th Century
Sikhs Repelling a Tiger Attack
English or Continental: 19th Century
16.5 x 24.5 inches, image
21.5 x 28 inches, overall
This dramatic black and white lithograph set in the Indian jungle shows Sikh hunters or soldiers fighting off an attack by a pair of tigers on the elephant they are riding. One tiger has latched onto the side of the elephant’s head as it writhes in distress. One of the Sikhs attempts to dislodge the tiger with a pole, while one of his companions aims a rifle and another, standing on the ground, aims a pistol. In the background through an opening of the thicket another elephant with riders approaches. The composition, within a rectangle with rounded corners, is stylized and decorative in its arrangement of curving, shaded forms, filled in with lush vegetation.
During the nineteenth century, the British and other Europeans were eager to learn about India’s complex and highly developed cultures that were so different from their own. In response, artists produced paintings and illustrated travel accounts. This work combines popular strains in 19th-century European art: Romanticism and a fascination with exotic tropical locales, especially India. The Romantic concept of the sublime depicts nature as combining beauty, awe and terror.
Condition: Generally very good, printed on card, recently professional professionally cleaned and restored to tip in a few minor chips in blank margins, and with some light remaining overall toning and wear including light stain from former taping to mat in upper margin (easily matted out).