In the miniature painting described by Bharati Mukherjee in 'Courtly Vision', the final story of Darkness, we see an emblem of Mukherjee's own art,1 an example of intertextuality in which the description of a painting becomes a text that provides the entire book 'with a means of interpreting it and of justifying its formal and semantic peculiarities'? Mukherjee's anonymous painter depicts 'Count Barthel my, an adventurer from beyond frozen oceans', admiring 'a likeness of the Begum, painted on a grain of rice by Basawan, the prized court artist' (p. 195); at the end of the story, the Emperor Akbar - third and most notable of the six great Mughal emperors- cries out: 'You, Basawan, who can paint my Begum on a grain of rice, see what you can do with the infinite vistas the size of my opened hand ... Transport me ... into the hearts of men' (p. 199). As he leads his army out of the capital, Akbar wishes not merely to travel to meet the enemy but to engage in a more thrilling kind of travel, a voyage of the mind and heart. He wants to be transported.
Sicherman, Carol, 'Transport Me ... into the Hearts of Men': Bharati Mukherjee's Darkness, Kunapipi, 14(3), 1992.