Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1618 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Major Denzil Macaulay

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The drawing of cranes in ink on paper may have been done by Mansur, one of the leading artists of the Mughal court in the early 17th century, during the reign of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). The emperor's memoirs show him to have been keenly interested in all aspects of the natural world. He kept a pair of saras cranes for at least five years, studying them carefully and interspersing his account of the events of courtly life with details about the birds' nesting habits.

An 18th century copy of a lost 17th century painting of cranes by Mansur is in the V&A (IM.122A-1921), and its composition is close to this drawing. In other cases, where copies and the original work have survived, the signatures or attributions on the originals have been included in the copy. Mansur was given the title "Nadir al-asr", or Wonder of the Age, by Jahangir, and was renowned for his studies of birds, animals and flowers. Minor corrections may be seen in the drawing. For one of the birds, an alternative leg has been drawn and partly erased.

Physical description

Brush drawing, ink on paper, depicting two Indian cranes.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1618 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ink on paper


Height: 17.1 cm maximum, Width: 10.3 cm maximum

Object history note


Descriptive line

Drawing, cranes, attributed to Mansur, ink on paper, Mughal, ca. 1618

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

Jones, Mark (ed.), Fake? : The Art of Deception, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990
Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, London, 2002, pl. 97, p. 132

Production Note

Mughal empire



Subjects depicted



Drawings; Paintings; Animals and Wildlife; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.