Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590-95 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kesav Kalan (artist)
    Chatarmuni (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:82-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This illustration from the Akbarnama shows the cleansing and purification of Kukar Talao (the local water tank) at Nagar, Rajasthan in 1570 by order of the emperor Akbar. After the cleaning, the water tank was renamed Shukr Talao or Thanksgiving Tank. This image is the left-hand side of a double picture (the other half is IS.2:83-1896), which shows Akbar watching on horseback followed by his retinue.

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.

Physical description

Depicts cleansing and purification of Kukar Talao (water tank) at Nagar, Rajasthan in 1570 by order of the emperor Akbar. It is the right side of a double illustration. The left side (IS.2:83-1896) illustrates Akbar watching the cleaning process.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1590-95 (made)

Artist/maker

Kesav Kalan (artist)
Chatarmuni (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Tarh Kesav Kalan
amal Chatarmuni
Composition by Kesav Kalan
Work [ie painting] by Chatarmuni
These contemporary attributions in Persian are written in red ink beneath the painting

Object history note

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign in 1589 and was written by Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596. The illustrations were being done as the author wrote and revised his work, and were completed by 1595. 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 John Clarke, who bought it while serving as Commissioner of Oudh, India betyween 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 third book of the Akbarnama. The inscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings refer to the artists and indicate that this was a royal copy.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, purification of the Kukur Talao, outline by Kesav, painting by Chatarmuni, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95

Production Note

Composition by Kesav Kalan, colours and details painted by Chatarmuni.
Attribution place is likely to be Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri.

Materials

Paper; Opaque watercolour; Paint

Techniques

Painted; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Tank; Men

Categories

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

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.