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Akbar

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Miskina (artist, outline, maker)
    Mansur, born 1450 (artist, colours and details, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:56-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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This illustration from the Akbarnama is the left-hand side of a double page composition (the other half is IS.2:55-1896) depicting Akbar taking part in a qamargah. This is a spectacular hunt whereby the game is driven towards the centre of a ten mile circular area so that the emperor and his entourage could hunt and kill the animals. It is one of the finest hunting scenes in the V&A Akbarnama paintings and features the early work of the artist Mansur, who became one of the greatest Mughal artists.

The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) 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

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, left side of a double picture, the right side being IS.2:55-1896. Depicts Akbar on horseback, hunting animals within an enclosure with the help of trained cheetahs. Bearers crowd round outside the enclosure.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

Artist/maker

Miskina (artist, outline, maker)
Mansur, born 1450 (artist, colours and details, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Composition by Miskina/Work [= painting] by Mansur'

Dimensions

Height: 32.1 cm, Width: 18.8 cm

Object history note

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 while he was writing it by court artists 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 the widow of major General Clarke, an official who served as 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.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, Akbar hunting in enclosure, outline by Miskina, painting by Mansur, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1586-1589

Associated names

Fazl, Abu'l

Production Note

Outline composed by Miskina, colours and details painted by Mansur.

Materials

Paper; Paint; Opaque watercolour

Techniques

Drawing; Painted

Subjects depicted

Animals; Ruler; Hunting; Equestrians; Akbar; Cheetahs

Categories

Illustration; Paintings; Animals and Wildlife

Collection code

SSEA

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Qr_O9644
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