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Miftah al-Sarod

  • Object:

    Manuscript page

  • Place of origin:

    Deccan (north, made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century to early 20th century (made)
    1691 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted, written and drawn in opaque watercolour, gold and ink on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 12B

Physical description

Page numbered 136 in Arabic numerals, from an illuminated manuscript, illustrated in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, with Garuda, Vishnu and a lady in the rain.

Place of Origin

Deccan (north, made)


late 19th century to early 20th century (made)
1691 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted, written and drawn in opaque watercolour, gold and ink on paper


Height: 24.6 cm, Width: 16.3 cm maximum

Object history note

The Mifta al-Sarod is a musical treatise in Persian written at Daulatabad in the Deccan by Qazi Hasan, son of Khwaja Tahir, son of Khwaja Muhammad Qazi, in 1673/4. The present copy was written and illustrated, according to the colophon, in the district of Indur (modern Nizamabad) in the Deccan in 1102 A.H. (July-August A.D.1691). It was rebound, probably in the late 19th or early 20th century.

The treatise is a ragamala work or 'garland of musical modes'. It describes the six principal ragas or musical modes (given as Bhairon, Malakansika, Hindola, Dipak, Shri and Megha Malhar) and their 31 'wives' and 49 'sons'. Each raga has 5 'wives' and 8 'sons' but Shri raga has 6 'wives' and 9 'sons'. This is based on the system of Ksemakarna but modified in the case of Shri Raga. Thus the total number of ragas (male) and raginis (female) is eighty-six, of which eighty-three illustrated remain in the manuscript.

Descriptive line

Front of a page numbered 136 in Arabic numerals, illustrated, Garuda and Vishnu, from an illuminated manuscript, a bound copy of the Miftah al-Sarod (a musical treatise by Qazi Hasan), ink on paper, north Deccan, dated 1691 AD

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Skelton, R, in The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, 1982, cat.82, p. 48, ISBN 0906969263.

Production Note

This copy was written and illustrated in the district of Indur (modern Nizamabad) in the Deccan, in 1102 A.H. (July-August 1691 AD).


Paper (fiber product); Ink; Water-colour; Gold


Painted; Written; Drawn

Subjects depicted

Rain; Deities; Woman


Manuscripts; Hinduism; Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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