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Mirza Ibrahim Husain

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590-95 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tulsi Kalan (maker)
    Banwari (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:104-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is the right side of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Tulsi Kalan and painted by Banwari and is an illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar). The left side is Museum no. IS.2:105-1896. This page depicts the defeat of Mirza Ibrahim Husain by the Mughal army. Ibraham Husain, like the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605), was descended from the great Central Asian ruler Timur, and his family frequently organised rebellions against Mughal rule in South Asia.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by Akbar 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.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, right side of double picture, left hand side is IS.2:105-1896. Depicts Mirza Ibrahim Husain hunting, and his defeat of Mirza Ibrahim Husain by Imperial troops. The image is overlaid by a band of text extending from the lower right hand margin.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1590-95 (made)

Artist/maker

Tulsi Kalan (maker)
Banwari (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Tarh: Tulsi Kalan/amal: Banwari'
'composition by Tulsi the Elder/work [= painting] by Banwari'
Contemporary librarian's attribution in Persian written beneath the image at the bottom of the page in red ink.

Dimensions

Height: 38.1 cm folio, Width: 22.4 cm folio

Object history note

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Emperor Akbar as an official chronicle of his reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl around 1590, and illustrated during the same decade by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jehangir. The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from 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. The inscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings name the artists.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, Mirza Ibrahim Husain hunting, defeat by imperial troops, outline by Tulsi the Elder, painting Banwari, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95

Materials

Paper; Opaque watercolour; Paint

Techniques

Painted; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Battle; Battle; Hunting; Army

Categories

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

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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