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About the Piece

Elsner depicts Mulla Nasreddin, a wise Sufi philosopher and hero of many famous Middle Eastern traditional stories. In the hundreds of funny stories about him, often in which he is the wise fool, the stories reveal a subtle philosophical meaning to the reader. Elsner shows Nasreddin famously sitting on his donkey the wrong way, forced to look at the donkey’s droppings as it walks. Nasreddin holds his nose in disgust. When asked why he rides backwards, Nasreddin answers: “What usually happens is that I want to go in one direction, and this stubborn beast wants to go in the exact opposite way. So, this is our compromise”. Of course, there is no real compromise. His response illustrates the foolhardiness of man: Nasreddin feels in control as he is riding his donkey and travelling. However, he is not travelling in the direction he wants to go so riding changes meaning as he is at the mercy of his donkey. The compromise gains him nothing but satisfies his vain need for control and action.
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Mullar Nassr Eddin

By Dante Elsner - Krakow 1978 Featured In: Dante Elsner (1920-1997): THE WORK DAN0013 Ink and watercolour on Japanese Mulberry paper on painted ca High Investment Framed
Framed: 26 x 49
Unframed: 42 x 19
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