Akbar and Hamid Bakari thumbnail 1
Akbar and Hamid Bakari thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Akbar and Hamid Bakari

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

This illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) is the right side of a double-page composition (see Museum no. IS.2:56-1896 for the left side). The entire composition depicts a ceremonial hunt that took place near Lahore, in present-day north-east Pakistan, in 1567. The Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) is shown in the centre of the painting mounted on horseback with his sword raised. At top right Hamid Bakkari is shown being punished for firing an arrow at one of the servants of the court by having his head shaved and being forced to ride backwards on an ass. The composition was designed by the Mughal court artist Miskina, who also painted the face of the emperor, and the rest was painted by Sarwan.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by Akbar 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.

The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from 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 punishes Hamid Bakari, outline and portraits 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.2:56-1896. The Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) is shown in the centre of the painting mounted on horseback with his sword raised. At top right Hamid Bakkari is shown being punished for firing an arrow at one of the servants of the court by having his head shaved and being forced to ride backwards on an ass.
Dimensions
  • Height: 32.1cm
  • Width: 18.6cm
Content description
The Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) is shown in the centre of the painting mounted on horseback with his sword raised. At top right Hamid Bakkari is shown being punished for firing an arrow at one of the servants of the court by having his head shaved and being forced to ride backwards on an ass.
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'Tarh va nami chehra Miskina/Amal Sarwan' (Contemporary attribution in Persian in red ink)
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 Museum purchased it in 1896 from the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province 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 third book of the Akbarnama. The inscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings name the artists.
Production
Composition by Miskina, colours and details painted by Sarwan.
Subjects depicted
Association
Literary ReferenceAkbarnama
Summary
This illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) is the right side of a double-page composition (see Museum no. IS.2:56-1896 for the left side). The entire composition depicts a ceremonial hunt that took place near Lahore, in present-day north-east Pakistan, in 1567. The Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) is shown in the centre of the painting mounted on horseback with his sword raised. At top right Hamid Bakkari is shown being punished for firing an arrow at one of the servants of the court by having his head shaved and being forced to ride backwards on an ass. The composition was designed by the Mughal court artist Miskina, who also painted the face of the emperor, and the rest was painted by Sarwan.



The Akbarnama was commissioned by Akbar 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.



The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from 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 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.72, no.50. Divyabhanusinh, The End of a Trail. The Cheetah in India. Oxford India Paperbacks, New Delhi 2002 (second edition), pp. 56 and 57 Divyabhanusinh, 'Hunting in Mughal Painting', in Som Prakash Verma, ed., Flora and Fauna in Mughal ARt, Marg Publications, Mumbai 1999, 94-108. Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The Art of the Book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 42, p. 63.
  • 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.p. 63, pl. 42 (right).
  • Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010p. 75, pl. 51
  • Stronge, S. "The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms", V&A, 1999p.69, pl. 68, cat no. 26, p. 212
  • Crill, Rosemary, Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Fabric of India" Exhibition, p.73. pl. 15.
  • The art of India and Pakistan, a commemorative catalogue of the exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1947-8. Edited by Sir Leigh Ashton. London: Faber and Faber, [1950]p. 151, cat. no. 670 d
  • Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.p. 18, cat. no. 2
Other Number
135 - inscription/original number
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2:55-1896

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record createdNovember 13, 1998
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