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Baqi Muhammed Khan

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590-95 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    La'l (maker)
    Banwali Khord (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:8-1896

  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case K

In this illustration to the Akbarnama by La'l and Banwali Khord, musicians and dancers perform for the celebration of the marriage of Maham Anaga's son. Maham Anaga was the foster-mother of the emperor Akbar and was a powerful figure in the court. The painting is half of a double page composition, the related page (IS.2:9-1896) showing Maham Anaga sitting next to Akbar in the royal pavilion.
The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) 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 is thought to have been illustrated between c. 1590 and 1595 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 the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.

Physical description

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, depicting festivities at the marriage of Baqi Muhammad Khan, the eldest son of Maham Anaga, at the court of Akbar in 1561. The picture is a continuation from IS.2:9-1896 and focuses on the dancers and the musicians, who perform on drums and trumpets. The image is overlaid by a caption of Persian text (three lines) in the top left-hand corner.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1590-95 (made)

Artist/maker

La'l (maker)
Banwali Khord (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Tarh La'l /Amal Banwali Khord'
'Composition by La'l /Work [=painting ] by Banwali the Younger'
Contemporary librarian's attributions in Persian, in red ink in the margin below the painting.

Dimensions

Height: 32 cm, Width: 18.9 cm

Object history note

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. This was written by Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596 and is thought to have been illustrated between ca.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 Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.

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. The inscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings name the artists.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, scene from marriage entertainment of Baqi Muhammed Khan, outline by La'l, painting by Banwali the Younger, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95

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

Sen, Geeti, Paintings from the Akbar Nama, Lustre Press Pvt Ltd, Delhi, 1984, p. 65.
pp. 50-51, cat. no. 31
Bor, J. and Bruguiere, P. Gloire des Princes: Louange des Dieux, Musee de la Musique, 2003.

Labels and date

FESTIVITIES AT COURT
Illustration to the Akbarnama
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Composition by La’l, painting by Banwali the Younger (right) and Sanwala (left)
Mughal, c. 1590-95
IS.2:8-1896 (right), IS.2:9-1896 (left)
In 1589, Akbar commissioned the great scholar Abu’l Fazl to write the Akbarnama, or Book of Akbar, as the official history of his reign. The incomplete manuscript to which these folios belong was the presentation copy for the emperor. This scene shows the marriage festivities of the son of Akbar’s wet-nurse, Maham Anaga, in 1561. Her powerful position at court is emphasised by the fact that she is permitted to sit in the emperor’s presence. [01/08/2017]

Production Note

Composition by La'l; painted by Banwali the Younger.

Materials

Paper; Opaque watercolour; Paint; Gold

Techniques

Painted; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Dancers; Musicians; Marriage

Categories

ELISE; Images Online; Paintings; Animals and Wildlife; Illustration; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project; Musical instruments

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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