Painting thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

Painting

ca. 1590 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This illustration had been removed from a manuscript of the Baburnama ('Book of Babur') before the museum acquired it in on the London art market in 1913. The manuscript was a copy of the Persian translation of the memoirs of Babur (r. 1526-1530), the founder of the Mughal empire. He wrote in his primary language, eastern Turkish, and the translation was commissioned by his grandson, the Mughal emperor Akbar, so that the contents could be widely read in the empire. The translator, Mirza Abdu'r Rahim, was the Khan-i khanan or Prime Minister, and completed his work in AH 998/AD1589. He presented it to Akbar on the emperor's return to Agra from Kabul on 24 November 1589. Multiple copies of his text were made. The illustrated volume to which this painting originally belonged is regarded as having been done in Akbar's painting atelier, the Ketab khana or 'House of Books', and to date to about 1590. At least seven illustrated copies of the Baburnama have survived, datable to between 1589 and the end of Akbar's life in 1605. This painting illustrates a passage in the book when Babur describes the exotic flora and fauna of his newly conquered lands.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Baburnama, birds in a tree, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590
Physical Description
Painting in opaque watercolour on paper, an illustration to the section of the Babumama in which Babur describes the animals, birds and plants of Hindustan, depicting a lion and buffalo, and birds in trees.
Dimensions
  • Height: 26.5cm (page size ) (Note: Image is to the edge of the page )
  • Width: 15.8cm (page size)
Content description
Illustration to the section of the Babumama in which Babur describes the animals, birds and plants of Hindustan, depicting a lion and buffalo, and birds in trees.
Style
Object history
Bought in 1950 from 'Melle Marian Densmore' as a 'Page from Aja'ib al Makhluqate'.



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 Nobember 189. The Khan-i Khanan excelled all the previous translators.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This illustration had been removed from a manuscript of the Baburnama ('Book of Babur') before the museum acquired it in on the London art market in 1913. The manuscript was a copy of the Persian translation of the memoirs of Babur (r. 1526-1530), the founder of the Mughal empire. He wrote in his primary language, eastern Turkish, and the translation was commissioned by his grandson, the Mughal emperor Akbar, so that the contents could be widely read in the empire. The translator, Mirza Abdu'r Rahim, was the Khan-i khanan or Prime Minister, and completed his work in AH 998/AD1589. He presented it to Akbar on the emperor's return to Agra from Kabul on 24 November 1589. Multiple copies of his text were made. The illustrated volume to which this painting originally belonged is regarded as having been done in Akbar's painting atelier, the Ketab khana or 'House of Books', and to date to about 1590. At least seven illustrated copies of the Baburnama have survived, datable to between 1589 and the end of Akbar's life in 1605. This painting illustrates a passage in the book when Babur describes the exotic flora and fauna of his newly conquered lands.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.234A-1950

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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