Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bishndas (maker)
    Nanha (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This painting from the Baburnama, or history of Babur, is the right half of a double-page composition (the left-hand page is Museum no. IM.276A-1913). It depictsthe Mughal emperor Babur (1483–1530) superintending the laying-out of the Garden of Fidelity at Kabul in the northern reaches of the Mughal empire, now in Afghanistan. Originally a Timurid prince in central Asia, Babur seized Kabul in 1504 and used it as a base for campaigns into Hindustan, where he founded the Mughal dynasty. The Garden of Fidelity (Bagh-e Vafa) was the first of many gardens he created. Situated to the south of Kabul, it was divided into quarters, fringed with orange and pomegranate trees and surrounded by a wall. The image shows the red sandstone wall and gateway of the garden, outside which the emperor’s horse and retinue are waiting.

Babur’s grandson, Akbar, had at least five copies of his grandfather’s memoirs, the Baburnama, made by the royal studios.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, Baburnama illustration, Babur supervising laying out of a Kabul garden, by Bishndas. Babur is depicted on the right, facing left, in a yellow short-sleeved coat over a red jama and wearing white turban gesturing towards the gardeners. A servant holds a white sash, an emblem of royalty, above the emperor's shoulder. A man with a squared red board stands between the emperor and a square enclosure for the water course that divides the garden in four. Gardeners stand poised for action; a man holds a string along the watercourse that is held at the other end in the other side of the composition (IM.276A-1913). The garden is enclosed by a red brick wall and filled with pomegranate and other trees, and flowering plants.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1590 (painted)


Bishndas (maker)
Nanha (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

amal-e Bishndas chehreh mami nanha
work [=painting] [by] Bishndas; portraits [by] Nanha.
The artists are mentioned in the inscription beneath the painting in the lower margin. There is a faint "50" in red ink to the right. The painting illustrates a section of Persian text running across both pages of the composition towards the top and bottom.


Height: 21.7 cm painting only, Width: 14.3 cm painting only, Height: 26.5 cm page, Width: 16.8 cm page

Descriptive line

Painting, Baburnama illustration, Babur supervising the laying out of a Kabul garden, by Bishndas, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590

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

pp.60-61, no.41
Guy, John and Swallow, Deborah (eds.) Arts of India: 1550-1900. Text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990, reprinted 1999. 240 p. : ill. ISBN: 1851770224.
Topsfield, Andrew, pp.32-33, cat.24
Skelton, Robert, et al, The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982
Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal emperor. The Art of the Book in India 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 59 p. 91


Paint; Opaque watercolour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Birds; Gardening; Gardens; Pomegranates


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


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.