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Painting

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

This is the right side of a double-page composition designed by Miskina as an illustration to the Akbarnama ("Book of Akbar"). It depicts the accidental explosion of mines during the Mughal attack on the Rajput fortress of Chitor in 1567. Mughal sappers are shown preparing covered paths to enable the army to approach the fortress, while their opponents fiercely defend themselves.
The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by 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 that of Shah Jahan (r.1628-1658). The 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, mines exploding during the siege of Chitor, outline by Miskina, painting by Sarwan, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1590-95
Physical Description
Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, right side of double picture, the left side being IS.2:67-1896. Depicts sappers laying mines during the siege of the fortress of Chitor in 1567. The sappers are shown building a covered approach to the fort. The image is overlaid by a band of text extending from the upper left hand margin.
Dimensions
  • Painting height: 33cm
  • Painting width: 18.8cm
Content description
Sappers laying mines during the siege of the fortress of Chitor in 1567. The sappers are shown building a covered approach to the fort. The image is overlaid by a band of text extending from the upper left hand margin.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'Tarh: Miskina/amal: Sarwan' (This is a contemporary attribution written in Persian, in red ink in the margin beneath the picture.)
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 illustrated between about 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 John Clarke, who bought it in Indian while serving as 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 Sarwan.

Attribution place is likely to be Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri.
Subjects depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This is the right side of a double-page composition designed by Miskina as an illustration to the Akbarnama ("Book of Akbar"). It depicts the accidental explosion of mines during the Mughal attack on the Rajput fortress of Chitor in 1567. Mughal sappers are shown preparing covered paths to enable the army to approach the fortress, while their opponents fiercely defend themselves.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by 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 that of Shah Jahan (r.1628-1658). The 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, p. 47 p. 73.
Other Number
151 - inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:66-1896

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record createdNovember 12, 1998
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