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  • A Ruler on Horseback Leading an Army across a Battlefield

    A Ruler on Horseback Leading an Army across a Battlefield

    Indian, Mughal dynasty
    A Ruler on Horseback Leading an Army across a Battlefield, from the Tarikh-i Alfi, about 1592-94
    Opaque watercolor on paper, heightened with gold
    Persian text in nastaliq script
    Alexander H. Bullock Fund

    Copyright Notice

    Unlike the painting of the Hindu Rajput courts, Mughal painting incorporated Persian, Western, and Indian elements. The Tarikhi-i Alfi (The History of one thousand years)- the first of many lavish illuminated manuscripts commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar- was to be a new history of the Muslim world with information dating from the death of Muhammad to Akbar's day. Today only fragments of this famous manuscript survive, perhaps twenty-six from about three hundred illustrated pages. They are distinguished by the large size of the folios, the occasional inclusion of several scenes on the same page, and the relationship of images to text. The ruler depicted here, leading an army across a battlefield, was probably Al-Hasan ibn Sahl, governor for the Abbasid caliph Al-Mamun (reigned A.D. 813-33). A landscape with the distant view of a village appears along the top, and there is a notation on the lower margin naming Sur Das Gujarati, one of the most accomplished artists in Akbar's imperial atelier, as the painter of the miniature. (A second notation is illegible.)