Past Exhibitions


The Sport of Kings: Art of the Hunt in Iran and India

Fri, 01/21/2005 - 19:00 -- wds
The Sport of Kings: Art of the Hunt in Iran and India
January 22, 2005—June 26, 2005 Arthur M. Sackler Museum

Attributed to Nainsukh, Raja Balwant Singh’s Hunt, India, Jasrota, 1752, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

Hunting — the pursuit of wild animals for food — is one of humanity’s oldest forms of social organization and the inspiration for some of our earliest efforts at visual art. By uniting lands from Spain to India, the Muslim conquests brought together different practices and thematic associations for the hunt that had developed on three continents over millennia. In India, the Kshattriya, or warrior, class was most receptive to the ideals and activities of the hunt, and Hindu princes commissioned superb depictions of this subject. Through a presentation of paintings, ceramics, decorative arts, and weaponry, The Sport of Kings explores the rich traditions of the hunt in West and South Asia. This exhibition focuses on forms of hunting, such as pursuit of game with cheetah, dogs, and falcons, and on thematic associations among hunting, warfare, and kingship. Organized by Mary McWilliams, Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic Art; Kimberly Masteller, assistant curator of Islamic and later Indian art; and Rajeshwari Shah, Norma Jean Calderwood Intern in the Department of Islamic and Later Indian Art.