Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mughal Drawings


I scanned the images and text below from Andrew's folio of printed plates called:


With An Introduction And Notes By


Work of Nanha.
Inscribed: Allah-hu-Akbar Shabih bhajan bajban miguand; khusfarmudand, raqm-e-Nanhan
c. 1605-1610

Nanha started working in the Akbari atelier from an early date. His works are found in the Jaipur 
Razmnama and Ramayana and many other Akbar period manuscripts. He continued to work till the 
first few years of Jahangir's reign as his work is found in the Anwar-i-Suhaili MS in the British 
Library. His nephew Bishndas was one of the leading painters of Jahangir.

This is a good likeness of a Bittern (Botaurus stellaris). There is no reference to this bird in the 
Tuzuk or any other contemporary work.

Horned Ram
c. 1605-1610

This fine portrait of a wild ram (Ovis cyclaceros Hutton) standing majestically belongs to a small 
group of bird and animal pictures prepared in the beginning of the seventeenth century. There is a 
closely similar drawing of the head and forepart of a ram in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 
attributed by A. K. Coomaraswamy to Ustad Mansur (Catalogue of the Indian Collection of the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Vol. vi, Mughal Painting; 51, plate XLII).

There are several references to wild ram in the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri. In one of these he writes about 
his investigation to find out whether worms develop in the horns of the wild ram which irritates 
the male into fighting.

c. 1615-1620.

Both Babar and Jahangir wrote about the Markhor in their memoirs. Markhors - capra megaceros 
Hutton or capra falconer Wagner - are found in the hilly regions of Kashmir, Ladakh the Hindukush 
and Afghanistan. On one occasion Jahangir notes in the Tuzuk: "The same Afghans [Shinwari 
Afghans] brought a hunted markhor goat the like of which I had never heard of or imagined. I 
ordered the painters to draw a likeness of this animal. It weighed four Hindustani maunds. The 
horns measured one and a half yards by the yard stick'. He reared two male Markhor goats when 
he was halting at Ahmedabad, which were paired with Barbary ewes brought from the Arabian 
port-city of Darkhar.

Out of two identical studies of this animal, the one in the Victoria and Albert Museum (No 138-
1921 IM) bears an attribution to 'Inayat'.

Falcon on a Bird-rest
Signed on the bird rest: 'Amal-e-Nadir-ul-' Asr Jahangirshahi
c. 1618-1619

Jahangir was a keen falconer and treasured fine specimens of falcons brought from different 
places. He wrote at length about a superb falcon brought by his envoy Shah 'Alam as a present 
from the Persian emperor Shah 'Abbas, which was mauled by a cat and died. He told his painters 
to take a likeness of the bird for preserving it in the Jahangirnama. This signed study of Ustad 
Mansur, who was awarded with the title Nadir-ul-'Asr, appears to be the same likeness.

The bird has been identified by Dr. Salim Ali as a Red-capped or Barbary falcon (Falco peregrius 
babylonicus), (not a Shaheen as mentioned in Lalit Kala, No. 18, 27-8, plate XII, fig.2).

The nagari inscription on top, Jahangir Patashah, refers to the portrait of Jahangir on the facing 
page, while the words bahari and uttam mean, a 'falcon' and 'excellent'.

A page of Bird and Animal Drawings
c. 1675-1700.

According to the Persian inscriptions written on the painting the top figure is of a yellow parrot 
brought from Beragarh in the fauzdari of Kalinjar, followed by (clockwise) a white (albino) crow 
bought from a fakir in the fauzdari of Chackle Dariabad, a pair of partridges found in the hilly 
areas of Kalinjar, a pair of Tibetan goat, from which pashmina wool is obtained, brought from 
Kashmir and a "Do-baz" crow brought from Orissa by an official of the Shikarkhana (hunting 

Dr. Salim Ali has very kindly identified the birds as (from top clockwise) Large Indian or 
Axexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) in the yellow or 'lutino' phase, an albino House Crow 
(Corbus splendens), male and female painted spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata) and a partial albino 
House Crow.

A Cassowary
c. 1675-1700

According to a Persian inscription on the top and its Nagari rendering at the bottom, this flightless 
Ostrich-like bird known as Cassowary (Casuaris sp.) was brought from the port of Surat for sixty 
rupees. It also mentions that the bird lays about 12 khaki colour eggs every year from which 
huqqa-base, etc. are made. Its Hindi name is written as Kharasmurg.

Dr. Salim Ali's comment on this painting: "It is a Cassowary (Casuarius sp.) - a flightless Ostrich-
like bird of the Australian region. Below it is what purports to be its egg. The likeness of the bird 
is passable, but its feet are terrible!"


No comments:

Post a Comment

Books by Ridou Ridou