Mariam Makani

Painting
ca. 1590-95 (made)
Mariam Makani thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This painting from the official history of Akbar's reign depicts the royal ladies travelling from Delhi to
Agra by river. It is related to IS.2:3-1896 which shows several boats including that of the emperor making the same journey in December 1560, and was painted by Tulsi and Durga for the presentation volume. The presence of the women is not explicitly stated in the chronicle, but would have been automatic. Only one of them is visible, perhaps the guardian of the zanana, or women's quarters, in the palaces. The others are concealed inside the curtained structures on each boat. The two-tier structure carried on the boat at the centre of the composition may well have carried Akbar's mother, its importance emphasised by its extra tier and by the red curtains, the colour emblematic of royalty.
The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) 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 Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs. Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Akbarnama, Akbar's mother Mariam Makani on boat, outline by Tulsi the Elder, painting by Durga, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, depicting Akbar's mother, Mariam Makani, travelling by river boat, as part of an imperial procession to Agra. The image is overlaid by a single caption of Persian text (two lines), extending from the right-hand side of the page.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33cm
  • Width: 20cm
Content description
Akbar's mother, Mariam Makani, travelling by river boat, as part of an imperial procession to Agra. The image is overlaid by a single caption of Persian text (two lines), extending from the right-hand side of the page.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
(Contemporary librarian's attributions in Persian, in red ink in the margin below the painting.)
Object history
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 Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs. Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner of Oudh, India, 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.
Production
Outline picture composed by Tulsi, colours and details supplied by Durga.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This painting from the official history of Akbar's reign depicts the royal ladies travelling from Delhi to

Agra by river. It is related to IS.2:3-1896 which shows several boats including that of the emperor making the same journey in December 1560, and was painted by Tulsi and Durga for the presentation volume. The presence of the women is not explicitly stated in the chronicle, but would have been automatic. Only one of them is visible, perhaps the guardian of the zanana, or women's quarters, in the palaces. The others are concealed inside the curtained structures on each boat. The two-tier structure carried on the boat at the centre of the composition may well have carried Akbar's mother, its importance emphasised by its extra tier and by the red curtains, the colour emblematic of royalty.

The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) 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 Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs. Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862.
Associated Object
Other Number
84 - Inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:4-1896

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record createdOctober 6, 1998
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