Not currently on display at the V&A

Painting

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

This illustration from the Akbarnama depicts the celebrations at the royal city of Fathhpur ('City of Victory', and later known as Fathepur Sikri) after the birth of Akbar's second son, Murad, in 1570.

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Akbarnama, rejoicings on the birth of Akbar's second son, Murad, outline and painting by Bhura, portraits by Basawan, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, depicts the rejoicings at the royal city of Fathpur (Fatehpur Sikri) on the birth of Akbar's second son, Mirza Murad, in 1570. Musicians play in the lower left, women pour rosewater, play instruments, offer garlands and vessels on trays, while the baby and its mother are shown at top right with servants.
Dimensions
  • Width: 19.5cm
  • Painting height: 33.2cm
Content description
Rejoicings at the royal city of Fathpur (Fatehpur Sikri) on the birth of Akbar's second son, Mirza Murad, in 1570. Musicians play in the lower left, women pour rosewater, play instruments, offer garlands and vessels on trays, while the baby and its mother are shown at top right with servants.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'amal Bhurah/chehra nami Basawan' (This is a contemporary attribution in Persian, written in red ink in the lower margin beneath the picture.)
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 illustrated by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio between about 1590 and 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 in India while serving as Commissioner in Oudh province from 1858 to 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 refer to the artists and indicate that this was a royal copy.
Production
Composition and painting by Bhura, portraits by Basawan.

Attribution place is likely to be Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri.
Subjects depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This illustration from the Akbarnama depicts the celebrations at the royal city of Fathhpur ('City of Victory', and later known as Fathepur Sikri) after the birth of Akbar's second son, Murad, in 1570.



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.
Bibliographic References
  • Susan Stronge, Painting for the Emperor. The Art of the Book 1560-1660, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 34, p. 51
  • In the image of man : the Indian perception of the universe through 2000 years of painting and sculpture : [exhibition / organized by Catherine Lampert assisted by Rosalie Cass]. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson :in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1982 Number: 0297780719, 0297781243 (pbk.)p.137, cat. no. 142
  • The art of India and Pakistan, a commemorative catalogue of the exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1947-8. Edited by Sir Leigh Ashton. London: Faber and Faber, [1950]p. 151, cat. no. 881 b
Other Number
165 - inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:80-1896

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record createdNovember 10, 1998
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