Opium smokers served melons and bread

A red sandstone terrace and veranda covered with a straw mat is the setting for an assemblage of more than 30 religious figures and nobles, most of whom are depicted in varying stages of intoxication and hangovers. To the left of center is a female ascetic wearing a peach-colored robe, and throughout the composition Sufi mystics wearing blue are interspersed with white-robed clerics and Mughal nobles. Some lucidly engage in discussions, while others prepare, ingest, and experience the effects of cannabis or opium known to have been taken regularly by those seeking mind-altering states. Watermelons, apples, and flatbread are being distributed among the assembled guests.

Watercolor on paper


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Cleveland Museum of Art

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