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Painting.

Painting.

  • Date:

    ca.1562-1577 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on prepared cotton backed with paper; the text on the back written on paper lined with cotton. The folio is therefore made of 4 layers, all glued together.

  • Museum number:

    IS.2512-1883

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Hamzanama, or 'Book of Hamza' was commissioned by the great Mughal emperor Akbar in the mid-16th century. The epic story of a character based very loosely on the life of the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad chronicles the fantastic adventures of Hamza as he and his band of heroes fight against the enemies of Islam. The stories, from a long-established oral tradition, were written down in Persian, the language of the court, in multiple volumes. These originally had 1400 illustrations, of which fewer than 200 survive today. No independent, contemporary version of the text is known and only the sections on the back of the remaining paintings preserve the original. The story is therefore difficult to follow. Work on the project probably began in about 1562 and took 15 years to complete.

This very damaged page is said to depict Sa'ad, who has fallen in love with Harum's sister, setting out for Barda in order to win her over by means of a valiant deed and fights.

Physical description

The very damaged painting shows a scene of combat outside the entrance gate to a fortified city.

Date

ca.1562-1577 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache on prepared cotton backed with paper; the text on the back written on paper lined with cotton. The folio is therefore made of 4 layers, all glued together.

Marks and inscriptions

Text number 75

Dimensions

Height: 66.9 cm, Width: 51 cm

Object history note

An illustration to the epic romance of the Hamzanama commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar. bought for the museum by Caspar Purdon Clarke in Srinagar in 1881.

Historical context note

The 'Hamzanama' was the first major project undertaken by the new painting studio of the Mughal court. Directed by two Iranian masters brought to India by Humayun, work began under Akbar and was said to have taken fifteen years to complete, drawing from artists from all over northern Hindustan.

Descriptive line

Sa'ad who has fallen in love with Harum's sister, sets out for Barda' in order to win her over by means of a valiant deed and fights. Hamzanama. 1562-77.

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

C. Stanley Clarke. Indian Drawings. Twelve Mogul Paintings of the School of Humayun (16th century) illustrating the Romance of Amir Hamzah. Victoria and Albert Museum Portfolios, London, 1921.
Seyller, John. The Adventures of Hamza. Smithsonian Institution. 2002, cat. R155, illustrated p. 274, caption p. 277.
Gluck, 1925, fig. 22.

Materials

Gouache; Cotton; Paper

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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