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Cuon Alpinus, the red dog

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Chapter Summary

The red dog or dhole belongs to the same family as wolves, jackals, dogs and foxes. Red dogs are the most determined enemies of the tiger, hunting him whenever they meet him. The only instance of a carving of a red dog the author could find is part of a narrative relief on a coping stone of the stupa railing from Bharhut, Madhya Pradesh (c. 100 B.C.E). In this frieze, three canids, a dead man and a woman in a tree apparently play a role. The dogs have the short massive pig-like head, round erect ears and bushy tail of a red dog. In fact, the whole scene is strongly reminiscent of the situation of red dogs pursuing a tiger. The tiger, seeing no other escape than climbing a tee, is here replaced by a woman or a spirit. The red dogs patiently wait below the tree.

Keywords: Cuon Alpinus; narrative relief; red dog; stone carving



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