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Folio from a Shukaspati ('Seventy Tales of the Parrot') manuscript: a brahmin gives Shrichand the parrot; Shrichand leaves his wife to emabark on a journey. Bikaner, early 17th century. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli.14.3 x 26.2cm
Made up of stories within a story, this episode is from the latter with Shrichand about to depart from his wife who after initial distress is soon pursuaded by a wanton friend to take a lover during her husband's absence. Each night she plans to start an affair but is sidetracked by the parrot who on each occasion tells an often ribald story of marital infidelity and the many rues used by the protagonists to escape the consequences, which the ingenious parrot knows is bound to capture the attention of Shrichand's wife. Each night after listening she puts off her planned liason for another night. The Persian 'Tutinama' is a later version of this Sanskrit tale.
I would like to express my gratitude to Tarun Pant for kindly identifying the scenes.
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Above: light catching gold detail
All images and text © Peter Blohm