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Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ram Das (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:

    IM.275-1913

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Babur (r. 1526-1531), a Central Asian prince descended from the great ruler Timur, was the founder of the Mughal empire. He wrote an account of his life in his first language, Chaghatay Turkish. By the time Akbar succeeded to the throne, few at court understood the language, and in 1589 the emperor ordered Babur's memoirs to be translated into Persian. Several illustrated copies were made for the emperor. In this page from a copy done in about 1590, an event of 1582 celebrating Babur's recent victory over Ibrahim Lodi is depicted. The new ruler is shown seated beneath a scarlet rectangular canopy, sitting on a low platform receiving Uzbek envoys in the garden full of flowers and blossoming trees. Behind him, at the top of the composition, are the red sandstone walls of a city, with figures being allowed entry through a wooden door in the gateway.The time taken to complete the painting, 50 days, is recorded in minute lettering at bottom left of the page. A contemporary inscription records the name of the artist, Ramdas.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour on paper, Baburnama illustration, by Ram Das, Babur receiving Uzbek and Rajput envoys in a garden at Agra. Babur, seated beneath a scarlet rectangular canopy, sits on a low takht receiving envoys in a garden full of flowers and blossoming trees. Behind him, at the top of the composition, are the red sandstone walls of a city, with figures being allowed entry through a wooden door in the gateway.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1590 (painted)

Artist/maker

Ram Das (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Ramdas
187
[Name of the artist]
[illustration number]
The time taken to complete the painting, 50 days, is recorded in minute lettering at bottom left of the page.

Dimensions

Height: 24.3 cm painted surface, Width: 13.5 cm painted surface, Height: 26.4 cm page, Width: 16.7 cm page

Object history note

S.A.A Rizvi, in Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's Reign (Delhi, 1975, 220-221), notes:
The Babur Nama, in Chaghta'i Turkish, a mine of information relating to Central Asia, Kabul and India, was of an absorbing interest for the Indian Timurids. The portions relating to the Indian period of Babur's autobiography had already been translated by his sadr, Zainu'd Din Khwafi, into Persian. In 994/1584 Mirza Payandah Hasan Ghaznavi commenced its translation at the insistence of Bihruz Khan (who was afterwards given the title of Naurang Khan by Akbar and died as a governor of Junahgarh in 1002/1593-94), but he could not translate the account beyond the first sixth and a part of the seventh year. Subsequently one Muhammad Quli Mughal HIsari continued the work and brought it down to 935/1528-29. Akbar ordered Mirza 'Abdu'r Rahim Khan-i Khanan to translate it again and he completed the work in 998/1589. He presented his translation to the Emperor as he was returning from Kabul on 24 November 1589. The Khan-i Khanan excelled all the previous translators.

The museum bought 16 folios from the Baburnama at the end of December 1912 (IM.260-274-1913) from Luzac & Co for £250. This folio was bought separately, in March 1913 from the same source, for £25. The double page composition of Babur directing the laying out of a garden (IM.276&a-1913) was bought at the same time as this, for £50.

Descriptive line

Painting, Baburnama illustration, Babur receiving Uzbek and Rajput envoys in garden at Agra, by Ram Das, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590

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

Asok Kumar Das, Dawn of Mughal Painting, Bombay 1982, Plate VI, page 20
Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, plate 57, p. 88.
p.104, pl. 72
Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010

Materials

Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper; Paint; Paper; Material

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Gate; City; Canopy; Garden

Categories

Paintings; Gardens & Gardening; Illustration; Manuscripts; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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