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Not currently on display at the V&A

Painting

ca. 1590-95 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The subject of this illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) has not been definitely identified. In view of its position in the text it is possible that it depicts a small skirmish that took place between Mughal forces and the army of the minor ruler of Dungarpur, in Rajasthan.

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, army, possibly Aisar Das Chohau's attack on elephant,outline by Kesav the Elder, painting Chatarmuni, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, image on the reverse of IS.2:112-1896. The subject is unidentified but possibly depicts Aisar Das Chohau's attack on elephant at Chitor in 1567. Depicts a crowded battle scene in a rocky landscape.
Dimensions
  • Folio height: 38.1cm
  • Folio width: 22.4cm
folio size 38.1cm x 22.4cm.
Content description
A crowded battle scene in a rocky landscape.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
(Contemporary librarian's attribution in Persian written beneath the image at the bottom of the 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 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. 1605-27) and later Shah Jahan (r. 1628-58). 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.



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.
Subjects depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
The subject of this illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) has not been definitely identified. In view of its position in the text it is possible that it depicts a small skirmish that took place between Mughal forces and the army of the minor ruler of Dungarpur, in Rajasthan.



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.2:112-1896 (Object)
Other Number
188
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:116-1896

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record createdOctober 22, 1998
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