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Elephant throne (howdah)
approx. 1870-1920
India; Chhattisgarh state, former princely state of Surguja
Acquisition made possible by Nancy B. Hamon in honor of Johnson S. Bogart, 2001.12.a-.c.
© Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

In ceremonial processions an Indian king was commonly borne on an elephant. The physical power and presence of the animal exalted the ruler's status in both the earthly and the spiritual contexts. He sat, shaded by an umbrella, in a sumptuous howdah (thronelike saddle) on an elephant lavishly adorned with jewelry and rich textiles.