Akbar and Abdu'r Rahim

Painting
ca. 1590-95 (made)
Akbar and Abdu'r Rahim  thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This illustration to the Persian-language history of the reign of Akbar is by one of the Mughal artists of the royal workshop, Anant. It depicts the emperor receiving the four-year old Abdu'r Rahim at court following the assassination of his father, Akbar's leading general and mentor, Bairam Khan, in 1561. The child is helped onto the dais by another man, who has been identified tentatively as Ataga Khan. The event took place in 1561.
The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) was commissioned by the emperor as the official chronicle of the reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596 and is thought to have been illustrated between c. 1592 and 1594 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death in 1605, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and later Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Akbarnama, Akbar receives Abd al-Rahim, outline and painting by Anant, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, depicting Akbar receiving Abdu'r Rahim, the four-year old son of Bairam Khan, at court. The child is helped onto the dais by another man, who has been identified tentatively as the Ataga Khan. In the foreground, a man leads a cheetah.
Dimensions
  • Height: 31.7cm
  • Width: 18.5cm
Content description
Akbar receiving Abdu'r Rahim, the four-year old son of Bairam Khan, at court. The child is helped onto the dais by another man, who has been identified tentatively as the Ataga Khan.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
(The contemporary librarian's attribution is written in Persian beneath the image, at bottom right of page, in red ink)
Object history
The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596, and illustrated between about 1592 and 1595 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jahangir. The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who served as the Commissioner in Oudh province.



Historical significance: It is thought to be the first illustrated copy of the Akbarnama. It drew upon the expertise of some of the best royal painters of the time, many of whom receive special mention by Abu'l Fazl in the A'in-i-Akbari. Theinscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings name the artists.
Subjects depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This illustration to the Persian-language history of the reign of Akbar is by one of the Mughal artists of the royal workshop, Anant. It depicts the emperor receiving the four-year old Abdu'r Rahim at court following the assassination of his father, Akbar's leading general and mentor, Bairam Khan, in 1561. The child is helped onto the dais by another man, who has been identified tentatively as Ataga Khan. The event took place in 1561.

The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) was commissioned by the emperor as the official chronicle of the reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596 and is thought to have been illustrated between c. 1592 and 1594 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death in 1605, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and later Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.
Bibliographic References
  • Susan Stronge, " Thrones of the Mughal Emperors of Hindustan", Jewellery Studies, vol. 10, London, 2004, p. 53, fig. 1. Susan Stronge, "The Akbarnama and Mughal Court Culture", in Gian Carlo Calza, ed., Akbar. The Great Emperor of India, Fondazione Roma, 2012, fig. 9, p. 27. Divyabhanusinh, The End of a Trail. The Cheetah in India. Oxford India Paperbacks, New Delhi 2002 (second edition), p. 61 Shakeel Hossain and Deeti Ray, eds Celebrating Rahima Khan-i-Khanan. Interglobe Foundation/Aga Khan Trust for Culture in association with Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad 2017, illustrated p. 6.
  • Geeti Sen, Paintings from the Akbar Nama. A Visual Chronicle of Mughal India, Lustre Pres Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 1984, pp. 60-61
  • STRONGE, Susan. Painting for the Mughal Emperor: The Art of the Book 1560 – 1660 London : V&A Publications, 2002. 192p, ill. ISBN 1 85177 358 4.p.12, pl. 2
Other Number
87 - Inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:7-1896

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdOctober 7, 1998
Record URL