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Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590-95 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    La'l (maker)
    Hari (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:43-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is the right side of a double composition by La'l from the Akbarnama, or Book of Akbar, depicting a water tank being dug near Narwar on the emperor's orders. The left side, IS.2:44-1896, illustrates wild elephants entering the waters of the tank. Hari was the artist who completed the coloured details on this side of the composition.
The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1595 and is thought to have been illustrated between ca.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 that of Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). The Museum purchased it in 1896 from Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner of Oudh, India, between 1858 and 1862.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, right side of a double picture, left side being IS.2:44-1896. Depicts a water tank dug near Narwar by the order of Akbar.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1590-95 (made)

Artist/maker

La'l (maker)
Hari (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Tarh La'l/Amal Hari'
'composition by La'l/work [=painting by] Hari'
Contemporary librarian's attribution in Persian written beneath the image at the bottom of the page in red ink.

Dimensions

Height: 33 cm, Width: 19.8 cm average

Object history note

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1595 and is thought to have been illustrated between ca.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 Francis Clarke, 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.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, water tank near Narwar, outline by Lal'l, painting by Hari, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95

Production Note

Outline composed by La'l, colours and details painted by Hari.

Materials

Paper; Opaque watercolour; Paint

Techniques

Painted; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Tank

Categories

ELISE; Manuscripts; Paintings; Royalty; Images Online; Illustration; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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