Painting thumbnail 1
Painting thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Painting

ca. 1590-95 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This page from the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) is the left side of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Miskina, with details painted by Bhura. It illustrates an incident when a mine exploded during the Mughal attack on the Rajput fortress of Chitor (Chittaurgarh) in north-west India in 1567.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. It 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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Brief Description
Painting, Akbarnama, mines exploding during the siege of Chitor, outline by Miskina, painting by Bhurah, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, left side of double picture, right side is IS.2:66-1896. Depicts the mining of the fortress of Chitor. In this image, one of the mines is shown exploding, causing the death of a number of people.
Dimensions
  • Painting height: 33cm
  • Painting width: 19.1cm
Content description
The mining of the fortress of Chitor. In this image, one of the mines is shown exploding, causing the death of a number of people.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
(Maker's identification; Persian; Persian; ink)
Object history
The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Emperor Akbar as an official chronicle of his reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl around 1590, and illustrated during the same decade by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jehangir. The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from the widow of major General Clarke, an official who served as the Commissioner in Oudh province.



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 Miskina, colours and details painted by Bhurah.

Attribution place is likely to be Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This page from the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) is the left side of a double-page composition designed by the Mughal court artist Miskina, with details painted by Bhura. It illustrates an incident when a mine exploded during the Mughal attack on the Rajput fortress of Chitor (Chittaurgarh) in north-west India in 1567.



The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. It 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.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal emperor. The Art of the Book, 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 47 p. 72.
Other Number
152 - inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:67-1896

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record createdNovember 11, 1998
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