Polo or Chaugan bazi, a traditional outdoor game among royal families till the eighteenth century, was an old pastime of the feudal class. It was while playing polo in 1210 that Qutab-din-Aibak had died falling from his horse. The game of polo was generally played between two teams of five players riding on horses with sticks having angular ends.
In this miniature, five princesses are shown playing polo against a dark green background. The princesses are mounted on beautifully decorated stallions of white, blue, dark brown and pale yellow colours. The colourful costumes and bejeweled head dresses of the princesses are painted with the utmost delicacy. The picture is a very good example of the early-18th century Golkonda style. In the foreground is a silvery-grey lotus lake with aquatic birds and in the background is the receding plains depicting rocks, huts and trees.
The Persian inscription in the background reads Chaugon-bazi-Chand Bibi. It is said that Chand Bibi was a gallant horse rider and fine polo player. She was the sister of Murtaza Nizam Shah I of Ahmadnagar and the widow of Ali Adil Shah I, the Sultan of Bijapur. She is known in history for her heroic battles with the Mughal forces of Emperor Akbar.Chand Bibi is among a small group of historic Indian women who took on powerful men. Paintings such as this provide clues to the liberal life-style of the Deccan.