This is a typical example of a genre that was popular with Rajput princes, especially in the 19th century. Larger than the average picture, these historical paintings record the ceremonies and pageantry of the court occasions that must have been welcome diversions from a dreary existence. A large group of such pictures has survived from the reign of that boisterous and bon-vivant Kotah ruler Ram Singh II (r. 1827-66). Indeed, this ruler seems to have been singularly fond of documenting the significant events of his colorful courtly life in equally gay and sumptuous pictures. This painting is one such example and depicts a procession in great detail. It is a wedding procession, as is clear from the litter covered with a red cloth that carries the bride. Unless it was a winter day, the bride must have literally baked inside, for even the small window is well covered. That it is a celebratory occasion is further evidenced by the cannons being fired in the upper right corner and the fireworks going off on the upper left. The regal trappings and insignias that accompany the draped litter make it clear that this is a royal wedding. Ram Singh married at least eight times, but this scene may relate to his principal marriage. Noteworthy also is the row of marching soldiers in European dress in the foreground. The presence of these soldiers is probably the result of the protectorate status bestowed on the state by the British in 1817.
Pigments on paper