Please complete the form to email this item.

Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tulsi (the Younger) (artist, outline, maker)
    Miskin (artist, painting, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:46-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Download image

This is the left side of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Miskin and coloured by Tulsi the Younger. It is an illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar), and depicts the construction of the fort at Agra for the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605). The fort was completed in 1566 and enclosed an area of 2 kilometres. This painting illustrates various construction processes performed by male and female labourers, of whom there were three to four thousand according to the text. The right half of the painting (Museum no. IS.2:45-1896) similarly illustrates the construction process.

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, left side of a double picture, the right side being IS.2:45-1896. Depicts the building of the fort at Agra. The image shows the different sorts of labourers at work. A band of text extending from the upper left hand margin overlays the image.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

Artist/maker

Tulsi (the Younger) (artist, outline, maker)
Miskin (artist, painting, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'composition by Miskina / work [= painting] by Tulsi the Younger'

Dimensions

Height: 32.8 cm, Width: 20 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 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. 1605-1627) and later Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). The 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.

Calza, Gian Carlo (ed.) Akbar: the great emperor of India. Rome : Fondazione, Roma Museo, 2012. ISBN 978-88-572-1525-9 (hard cover edition); ISBN 978-88-572-1793-2 (soft cover edition). p.243 , cat. no.II.3.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, construction of Agra Fort, outline by Miskina, painting by Tulsi the Younger, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1586-1589

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor: The Art of the Book 1560-1660, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 53, p. 82.

Associated names

Fazl, Abu'l

Production Note

Outline composed by Miskin, colours and details painted by Tulsi Khord.

Materials

Paper; Paint; Opaque watercolour

Techniques

Drawing; Painted

Subjects depicted

Agra; Fort; Construction

Categories

Architecture; Manuscripts; Illustration; Paintings

Collection code

SSEA

Download image
Qr_O9677
Ajax-loader