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‘‘Daulat the Painter and ’Abd al-Rahim the Scribe”

December 31, 1595
Mirza Firuz Shah
Akbar 1556–1605

‘‘Daulat the Painter and ’Abd al-Rahim the Scribe”



A true lover of books, pictures, and virtually all collectables, Jahangir never tired of their pleasures. Many manuscripts and miniatures are inscribed in his own hand with appreciative and discerning comments. A Khamsa of Nizami copied for Akbar by the eminent scribe ’Abd al-Rahim, known as Ambar Qalani (“Amber Pen”), was given a personal touch by Jahangir. He commissioned Daulat, one of his best painters, to add this portrait of himself painting the revered scribe to the colophon of the manuscript. Both men are shown with the materials of their trades in workaday attitudes. Daulat also adorned the borders of an album page dateable between 1609-14 with similar portrayals of Abu’l Hasan, Manohar, and Govardhan as well as another self-portrait (see Yedda Godard, “Les Marges du Murakka Gulshan,” Athar-e Iran, tome 1. fasc. 1, Haarlem. 1936. pp. 11-33.) The album is now in the Gulistan Library, Teheran. One of the greatest accomplishments of the Mughals was to initiate a new tradition of painting. Court historian Abu’l Fazl ibn Mubarak documented the emperor Akbar’s personal interest in the art of painting: ‘His Majesty, from his earliest youth, has shewn a great predilection for this art, and gives it every encouragement…. Hence the art flourishes, and many painters have obtained great reputation.’ Akbar established a formal artistic studio, led by Iranian artists brought to the subcontinent by his father Humayun. Here, painters and calligraphers collaborated and produced illustrated manuscripts and individual works including portraits. Primarily, these works were produced for the emperor’s private library, though princes and notable courtiers were also patrons of the arts. Akbar invested considerable energy into the artistic studio that he established, known as the tasvir khana. It was led by eminent Iranian artists, but Akbar also recruited Hindu and Muslim artists from across the continent. At its peak, the royal studio employed more than 100 artists of varying skill. The initial eclectic range of styles harmoniously merged into a clearly identifiable Mughal style. Major projects included the epic Hamzanama (Story of Amir Hamza); it took artists 15 years to complete its 1,400 paintings. Smaller projects included histories of the reigns of Akbar and Babur, Persian classics by the poets Nizami, Jami and Hafiz, as well as Persian translations of the Sanskrit epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Most of the individual paintings and illustrations found in manuscripts are painted on paper using opaque watercolours (mineral and earth pigments mixed with gum arabic as a binding medium), often highlighted with gold and/or silver. Featured below is the colophon page of an imperial volume of the Khamsa (Five poems) by the poet Nizami made for the emperor Akbar. It features the features the portraits of the scribe 'Abd al-Rahim 'Anbarinqalam ('Sweet-pen') and the artist Daulat. This manuscript was copied by 'Anbarinqalam in 1595-96 and features 42 illustrations by master artists of the Mughal studio. To Read More Visit This Book Link


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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