Mughal and Deccani Miniature Paintings from a Private Collection

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  • The Smithsonian InstitutionRegents of the University of Michigan

    Mughal and Deccani Miniature Paintings from a Private CollectionAuthor(s): Stuart C. Welch, Jr.Source: Ars Orientalis, Vol. 5 (1963), pp. 221-233Published by: Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the Historyof Art, University of MichiganStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4629190 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 03:10

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  • MUGHAL AND DECCANI MINIATURE PAINTINGS FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION 1 BY STUART C. WELCH, JR.

    SINCE THE PUBLICATION HERE IN I959 OF

    a number of Mughal and Deccani paintings from two private collections shown at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University,2 several miniatures have been added to one of the collections. These include two portraits of the Akbar period (i556-i605), a group of early drawings, another page from a dis- persed Divdn of Shani of about I595, in the highly finished style of the imperial court, as well as a series of pictures dating from the reign of Jahangir (I605-27). A page from the Raznameh of I6 I6, a manuscript associ- ated with the Khan-e Khanan, is of particular interest in relation to the art of Rajasthan. Among the miniatures of the later I7th cen- tury are two from an album of the Shah Jahan epoch (I628-57) and an Awrangzib period (I658-1707) conversation piece in the mixed Mughal-Deccani style patronized by the Mu- ghals who served in the Deccan. There are also several pictures of purely Deccani origin, one of which, although damaged, provides an addition to the small corpus of early Bijapuri portraits. From a later phase comes a pleas- ing Todi Ragini, an illustration to the musical mode, imbued with the characteristics of the style of the court of the last of the Qutb Shahi rulers, Abul Hasan (I672-87), who was known as Tana Shah, "The King of Taste."

    1The author would like to express his thanks to Rai Krishnadasa of the Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras, Eric Schroeder of the Fogg Art Museum, W. G. Archer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Martin Dickson of Princeton University, Jean WVat- son of the India Office Library, and to those whose generous assistance has been cited in the catalogue.

    2 Vide S. C. Welch, Jr., Early Mughal miniature paintings from two private collections shown at The Fogg art Museum, Ars Orientalis, vol. 3, 1959.

    CATALOGUE

    i. Portrait of a Rajput. (Fig. i.) A stout nobleman leans on his walking stick, his face and body turned to the left as though standing before the enthroned emperor. As usual in portraits of the Akbar period, the figure is set against a green background with no indica- tions of actual space (the traces of grass and flowers are the result of clumsy overpainting of the green, most of which has been removed). He wears a crimson turban decorated with green and white dots, a transparent though pomade-stained muslin jdrneh, the seams of which follow his ample arms and massive torso, and a white pdijdmeh. Three archer's rings hang from a long gold, orange, green, and black flame-stitch patkJ which also sup- ports an orange pouch and a gold katar in an orange sheath. Tassled orange shoes with orange frogs, gold earrings, and a ruby ring complete the costume. The warrior's heavy face is upturned, lending an expression of alertness. Slightly raised eyes, furrowed brow, a sharply bridged nose, and a smiling mouth tinted red with pin enliven the characteriza- tion. The subject of a late copy of a portrait of Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner (I57I-I6I2) in the Bikaner collection closely resembles this Rajput, who might be the same personage.3

    The small, closely set feet of the warrior seem barely capable of supporting his looming bulk. This is characteristic of early Mughal portraits, for it was not until the reign of Jahangir that Mughal painters were able to firmly ground their portrait subjects. The costume is also consistent with an early date, as is the treatment of the mouth and chin,

    3Fide H. Goetz, The art and architecture of Bikaner state, Oxford, I950, fig. 89.

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  • 222 STUART C. WELCH, JR.

    which are in profile despite the three-quarter view of the face, a feature often seen in the Ddstan-e Amir Iamzah manuscript.4

    The formula for this sort of portrait was developed during the Akbar period. Ivan Stchoukine has identified a portrait now in the Musee Guimet as contemporary with the Hamzah manuscript, which was probably worked on through the I570'S.5 This minia- ture is identical in style to a group of illus- trated Persian manuscripts several of which contain colophons stating that they were writ- ten at Bakharz in Khorassan during the i s6o's and I57o's.6 A portrait of a Persian in this style, which might have been introduced to India by an artist or artists trained in Kho- rassan, is in the Archaeological Museum, Teheran.7 Although the Guimet and Teheran examples are significant in helping to estab- lish the provenance of this kind of portrait, neither can be considered typically Mughal. Notwithstanding its subject, the Guimet pic- ture portrays a type rather than an individual and lacks altogether the penetrating analysis of form and personality which raises Mughal

    4 Vide H. Gliuck, Die indischen Miniaturen des Haemzae-Romanes, Wien, 1925, pls. 12, I4, i6, I9, 21, 26, 29, et al.

    6 I. Stchoukine, Miniatures indiennes du Musee du Louvre, Paris, 1929, No. i, pl. I.

    8 Vide B. W. Robinson, A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian library, Ox- ford, 1958, pp. I38, I4I-I42, I51, pl. 29; also, I. Stchoukine, Les peintures des manuscrits Safavis, Paris, I959, pp. I35-I37, pIS. 7I, 76.

    7 Vide V. Kubickova, Persian miniatures, Lon- don, I960, p. 39. Figures in Indian costume occur often in miniatures of this group. A copy of Sana'is Hadiqat al-Haqiqa dated I573 in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (09.324) depicts a mahout in Indian costume with a composite elephant. A pair of lovers with two attendants, all in Indian costumes, in this style was published by Ph. W. Schulz, Die persisch- islamische Miniaturmalerei, Lepizig, I9I4, pl. I36.

    portraiture to its high position in the world history of the art. i i.8 x o6.6 cm. Ca. 1575.

    2. A Master and His Pupil. (Fig. 2.) An attentive boy kneels with his hands on his knees before a bearded teacher, grasping a book, who leans in sympathy toward the stu- dent.8 The boy, whose jameh ties on the left despite his Mughal features, wears a turban wound of a narrow, tapelike length adorned with a black plume and ropes of pearls. A wide, fringed shawl is wrapped over his shoulders and across his arms. The teach- er's fur-trimmed coat is open at the waist, revealing a short kamarband. His turban is large and loosely tied, with ends that flare in splayed flourishes akin to those of his long, graceful scarf, which is draped over his shoul- ders and forearms. The drawing is in black, lightly tinted with flesh tones, streaks of gray in the beard, and brown in the fur collar. It is unusually calligraphic for Mughal work and probably by an artist trained in Persia. Flow- ing curved accents and a system of zigzags meeting in hooklike forms suggest the style of Aqa Riza Jahangiri, a painter who was in India at least as early as I588/9, when his son Abu'l Hasan was born.9 09.1 x 07.5 cm. Ca. Is8s.

    8 A number of variations on this subject are known. Vide L. Hajek, Indian miniatures of the Moghul school, London, I960, pls. 22, 33; also E. Kiihnel and H. Goetz, Indische Buchmalereien, pI. 14. Here, the pupil is Prince Salim and the master Shaikh Salim Chishti; also S. C. Welch, Jr., op. cit., fig. I3. This painting should be dated to ca. I570 on the basis of its stylistic relationship to the Anvdr-e Sohayli manuscript in the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, which is dated I570.

    9 f/ide B. Gray, Painting, The Art of India and Pakistan, ed. by Sir Leigh Ashton, London, I950, p. 97; also Eric Schroeder, Persian miniatures in the

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  • MUGHAL AND DECCANI MINIATURE PAINTINGS 223

    3. a Peasant Boy and an Jrmed Band. (Fig. 3.) A horseman questions a villager while a brown and a white cow look on. In the distance, boldly painted green and blue trees highlighted in white and yellow and cliffs painted in a somewhat Persian manner de- scribe the setting. The ground is treated in a series of receding planes composed of short dashes of color and crosshatching, a technique borrowed from European engraving. Mot- tled gree