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Timur, Babur and Humayun

Painting
ca. 1628 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Timur (1336–1405), the Central Asian ruler from whom the Mughals were descended, sits in the centre of this allegorical painting. He hands the imperial crown to the founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur (r.1526–1530), who is seated to his right. On his left is Babur’s son Humayun, the second Mughal emperor (r.1530–1540 and 1544–1545), who briefly lost the throne and was forced into exile in Iran. All are seated on jewelled thrones beneath parasols, an emblem of royalty. Before them stand their chief ministers, all identified in minuscule Persian inscriptions: on the right is Bayram Khan, with Mirza Shah Rukh and Mirza Rustam in the middle and on the left respectively.

An attribution in black ink on the lower border notes that the painting was done by Govardhan, an artist of the imperial Mughal workshop during the reigns of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). It was probably done to mark Shah Jahan's accession. It came from a group of paintings now divided between the V&A and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, popularly known as the ‘Minto Album’ from its association with a former owner, Lord Minto. A companion painting from the same album now in the Chester Beatty Library depicts Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the immediate successors of Babur and Humayun, similarly enthroned.
read The arts of the Mughal Empire The great age of Mughal art lasted from about 1580 to 1650 and spanned the reigns of three emperors: Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Hindu and Muslim artists and craftsmen from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent worked with Iranian masters in the masculine environment of the r...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Allegorical painting of the Central Asian ruler Timur, with the Mughal emperors Babur and Humayan, all enthroned and beneath a red canopy, with their respective chief ministers standing before them; opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1630
Physical Description
Painting in opaque watercolour and gold on paper with borders painted with scrolling ornament of leaves and flowers in gold. Timur sits in a jewelled throne beneath a canopy at the centre, handing the Timurid crown to Babur on his right, watched by Babur's son and successor Humayun on his left, both of whom have similarly opulent thrones. Their respective chief ministers stand before them. All are identified by minute inscriptions in Persian.
Dimensions
  • Painting only height: 29.5cm
  • Painting only width: 20.4cm
  • Page height: 38.5cm
  • Page width: 26.1cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
([1] Persian inscription in black ink, in the border beneath the painting )
Object history
The folio is from a group of paintings acquired at auction in 1925 where they were sold as "The Minto Album" and subsequently divided between the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and the V&A.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Timur (1336–1405), the Central Asian ruler from whom the Mughals were descended, sits in the centre of this allegorical painting. He hands the imperial crown to the founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur (r.1526–1530), who is seated to his right. On his left is Babur’s son Humayun, the second Mughal emperor (r.1530–1540 and 1544–1545), who briefly lost the throne and was forced into exile in Iran. All are seated on jewelled thrones beneath parasols, an emblem of royalty. Before them stand their chief ministers, all identified in minuscule Persian inscriptions: on the right is Bayram Khan, with Mirza Shah Rukh and Mirza Rustam in the middle and on the left respectively.



An attribution in black ink on the lower border notes that the painting was done by Govardhan, an artist of the imperial Mughal workshop during the reigns of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). It was probably done to mark Shah Jahan's accession. It came from a group of paintings now divided between the V&A and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, popularly known as the ‘Minto Album’ from its association with a former owner, Lord Minto. A companion painting from the same album now in the Chester Beatty Library depicts Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the immediate successors of Babur and Humayun, similarly enthroned.
Bibliographic References
  • Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.58/59, no.40. Jaffer, A. Furniture from British India and Ceylon: a catalogue of the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001. ISBN 1 85177 318 5.p.108, fig.35. Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 112, p. 150
  • Stronge, S. (Ed.) "The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms", V&A, 1999p. 212, Cat. 24
  • S. Stronge, " Thrones of the Mughal Emperors of Hindustan", Jewellery Studies, vol. 10, London, 2004, p. 59, fig. 9.
  • The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3Robert Skelton, Cat. no. 52, p. 41
  • Hats from India / Rosemary Crill. [London]: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985 Number: 0948107308p. 15
  • STRONGE, Susan. Painting for the Mughal Emperor: The Art of the Book 1560 – 1660 London : V&A Publications, 2002. 192p, ill. ISBN 1 85177 358 4.pl. 112, p. 150
Collection
Accession Number
IM.8-1925

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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