Akbar

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

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In this page of the Akbarnama the emperor Akbar is depicted on horseback receiving his sons homage at the royal city of Fathhpur ('City of Victory', and later known as Fathepur Sikri) after his victorious campaign in Gujarat in 1573.

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 about 1592 and 1594 by at least 49 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, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh 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 victorious return to Fatehpur Sikri, outline by Kesav the Elder, painting Nar Singh, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, right half of double page IS.2:111-1896. Depicts Akbar's victorious return to Fathpur Sikri after his campaign in Gujarat. Akbar enters a courtyard followed by his entourage bearing spears and is greeted by his three sons, including Salim, his eldest.

The image is overlaid by a band of text which extends from the upper left hand margin of the picture.
Dimensions
  • Painting height: 31.5cm
  • Painting width: 18.4cm
Content description
Akbar's victorious return to Fathpur Sikri after his campaign in Gujarat. Akbar enters a courtyard followed by his entourage bearing spears and is greeted by his three sons, including Salim, his eldest.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
(This is a contemporary attribution written in Persian in red ink in the lower margin below the picture.)
Gallery Label
REJOICINGS AT AKBAR’S RETURN TO FATHPUR Illustration to the Akbarnama Opaque watercolour and gold on paper Mughal, composition by Keshav Kalan, painted by Nar Singh c. 1590-95 IS.2:110-1896 In 1589, Akbar commissioned the great scholar Abu’l Fazl to write the Akbarnama, or ‘Book of Akbar’, as the official history of his reign. Abu’l Fazl collected information from records in the royal library, other histories and eye-witnesses. This double-page composition comes from an incomplete version of the text which was bought by the Museum in 1896. The paintings are by Akbar’s most famous artists. They are usually identified in red ink in the lower border.(27/9/2013)
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 d illustrated between 1590 and 1595 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jahangir. The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from Mrs Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner in Oudh province from 1858 to 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 refer to the artists and indicate that this was a royal copy.
Production
Composition by Kesav Kalan, colours and details painted by Nar Singh.

Attribution place is likely to be Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
In this page of the Akbarnama the emperor Akbar is depicted on horseback receiving his sons homage at the royal city of Fathhpur ('City of Victory', and later known as Fathepur Sikri) after his victorious campaign in Gujarat in 1573.



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 about 1592 and 1594 by at least 49 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, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh between 1858 and 1862.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The Art of the Book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 27, p. 43.
Other Number
191 - inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:110-1896

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record createdOctober 28, 1998
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