An ambiguous heads Indian mural

Photos © Michaela Butter

The elephant and the horse share an eye!  You can see the eye as belonging either to the elephant and its trunk, or to the head of the horse caught between the elephant’s tusks. It’s an optical illusion of a kind unusual in Indian painting.  It was brilliantly spotted by my friends Michaela and Eddy Keon, visiting the palace in the beautiful, not so well known Rajasthani hill town, of Bundi.

The painting is in a style developed by the unknown artists who decorated the palace at Bundi with glorious murals in the seventeenth century.  Bundi painting is one of a number of local styles of Rajasthani painting, developed, mostly by artists decorating palaces, separately from the better known contemporary Mughal styles.