Ali Quli Khan  thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Ali Quli Khan

Painting
ca. 1590-95 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) depicts the victory of the Mughal army, led by Khan Zaman, over the Afghans in 1561 on the banks of the River Gomti (also known as the Gumti or Gomati) in north India. It forms half of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Kanha ( IS.2:12-1896 is the other half). Banwali Khord painted the details of this page.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written in Persian by his court historian and biographer, Abu’l Fazl, between 1590 and 1596, and the V&A’s partial copy of the manuscript is thought to have been illustrated between about 1592 and 1595. This is thought to be the earliest illustrated version of the text, and drew upon the expertise of some of the best royal artists of the time. Many of these are listed by Abu’l Fazl in the third volume of the text, the A’in-i Akbari, and some of these names appear in the V&A illustrations, written in red ink beneath the pictures, showing that this was a royal copy made for Akbar himself. After his death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son Jahangir, from whom it was inherited by Shah Jahan.

The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh between 1858 and 1862.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief description
Painting, Akbarnama, victory of Khan Zaman (Ali Quli Khan), outline by Kanha, painting by Banwali the Younger, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, left half of a double picture, depicting the victory of Ali Quli Khan over the Afghans on the banks of the river Gomti in 1561. The illustration overleaf (IS.2:12-1896) continues the story.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33cm
  • Average width: 20cm
Folio size is 38.1cm x 22.4cm.
Content description
The victory of Ali Quli Khan over the Afghans on the banks of the river Gomti.
Styles
Marks and inscriptions
(Contemporary librarian's attributions in Persian, in red ink in the margin below the painting.)
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 is thought to have been illustrated between about 1592 and 1594 by at least 49 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 John Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh 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.
Production
Composition by Kanha, colours and details painted by Banwali the Younger.
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Association
Literary referenceAkbarnama
Summary
This illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) depicts the victory of the Mughal army, led by Khan Zaman, over the Afghans in 1561 on the banks of the River Gomti (also known as the Gumti or Gomati) in north India. It forms half of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Kanha ( IS.2:12-1896 is the other half). Banwali Khord painted the details of this page.



The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written in Persian by his court historian and biographer, Abu’l Fazl, between 1590 and 1596, and the V&A’s partial copy of the manuscript is thought to have been illustrated between about 1592 and 1595. This is thought to be the earliest illustrated version of the text, and drew upon the expertise of some of the best royal artists of the time. Many of these are listed by Abu’l Fazl in the third volume of the text, the A’in-i Akbari, and some of these names appear in the V&A illustrations, written in red ink beneath the pictures, showing that this was a royal copy made for Akbar himself. After his death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son Jahangir, from whom it was inherited by Shah Jahan.



The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh between 1858 and 1862.
Associated object
IS.2:12-1896 (Object)
Other number
93 - Inscription/original number
Collection
Accession number
IS.2:13-1896

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 9, 1998
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest