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Tarkhan Divana and Husain Quli Khan

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    La'l (artist, outline, maker)
    Naman (artist, painting, maker)
    Mukund (artist, portraits, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.2:32-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Download image

This painting depicts Tarkhan Divana, the custodian of the fort at Ajmer in north-west India, making a treaty with Husain Quli Khan, the Mughal general, in 1562. Tarkhan Divana is shown humbly bowing in submission to the Mughal general, who is seated in a temporary tent, which is beautifully detailed by the three Mughal court artists La’l, Naman and Mukund.

The painting is from the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar), commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. The Akbarnama 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

This illustration, painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, depicts Tarkhan Divana making a treaty with Hussain Quli Khan, the Mughal general, in Ajmer in 1562.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

Artist/maker

La'l (artist, outline, maker)
Naman (artist, painting, maker)
Mukund (artist, portraits, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Tarh La'l/Amal Naman/Chehreh nami Mukund' 'composition by La'l/work [=painted] by Naman/faces by Mukund'

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 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.

Descriptive line

Painting, Akbarnama, Tarkhan Divana Making a Treaty with Husain Quli Khan, outline by La'l, painting by Naman, portraits by Mukund, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1586-1589

Associated names

Fazl, Abu'l

Production Note

Composition by La'l; painted by Naman, faces by Mukund.

Materials

Paper; Paint; Opaque watercolour

Techniques

Drawing; Painted

Subjects depicted

General; Khan, Husain Quli; Treaty

Categories

Royalty; Manuscripts; Illustration; Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection code

SSEA

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Qr_O9731
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