The focus of this essay is a spectacular scroll in the British Museum's collections that has been neither exhibited nor published since its acquisition. Perhaps that is because several fundamental questions about it remain unanswered: Where and when was it made? Who made it, and for whom? What purpose and meaning did it have for the first people who saw it and those who subsequently came into contact with it? In this essay, I begin to address these elementary questions. I establish that this eleven-foot-long scroll was created in Mewar in western India in 1769, and that since then it has cleaved many realms. Those realms include art and devotion, text and textile, astral science and genealogy, classical epics and vernacular histories, and cyclical time and linear time. I then postulate that understanding this short scroll's ability to nimbly separate and join those realms can help us critically appreciate the forms, layouts, and functions of two other contemporaneous cloth scrolls from the same region that are considerably longer and also have received sparse scholarly attention. Ultimately, I show how micro studies of scrolls and scrolling practices can allow us to understand forms of knowledge in Mewar on the eve of British colonialism, and to participate in challenging certain perceptions of the region's past that remain inflected by James Tod's writings nearly two hundred years after their publication.

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