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A floral fantasy of animals and birds (Waq-waq)

June 30, 1556
Animals and Plants
Akbar 1556–1605

A floral fantasy of animals and birds (Waq-waq)



A floral fantasy of animals and birds (Waq-waq) early 1600s India, Mughal Opaque watercolor and gold on paper Page: 37.6 x 26.6 cm (14 13/16 x 10 1/2 in.) Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.319 DID YOU KNOW? The dragon threatens to singe the boar’s beard. DESCRIPTION Derived ultimately from a conflation of medieval Persian and Qur'anic sources, including descriptions of the mythical island of Waq-waq inhabited by half-plant/half-animal creatures, this extraordinary painting depicts a plant that brings forth animal life in multiple forms. Playfully rendered with animals both real and mythic and birds that seem to effervesce away as they break free of the stems, this brilliant rendition of a life-giving plant maintains its compositional integrity, even as it sprawls across the page. This painting was made to beguile courtly connoisseurs who would gather to admire the wondrous images in an imperial album. PROVENANCE ?-December 1967 Motichand Khajanchi, Bikaner, India December 1967-2013 Ralph Benkaim [1914-2001] and Catherine Glynn Benkaim [b. 1946], Beverly Hills, CA, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art 2013- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH CITATIONS India 1966: a pictorial diary depicting Indian birds and animals [= India 1966: agenda illustre sur les oiseaux et animaux l'Inde = India 1966: ein Bildkalender indischer Vögel und Tiere]. New Delhi: Government of India, 1966. Reproduced: back cover Welch, Stuart Cary, and Mark Zebrowski. A Flower from Every Meadow: Indian Paintings from American Collections. New York: Asia Society; distributed by New York Graphic Society, 1973. Mentioned and Reproduced: no. 60, frontispiece Archives of Asian Art 64, no. 2 (2014): p. 227. Reproduced: p. 227, fig. 13. Mace, Sonya Rhie, Mohsen Ashtiany, Catherine Glynn, Pedro Moura Carvalho, Marcus Fraser, and Ruby Lal. Mughal Paintings: Art and Stories: the Cleveland Museum of Art. London: D Giles Limited, 2016. cat. 28, p. 221 Okada, Amina. Les Animaux Magiques dans la Peinture Indienne. [Paris] : Circonflexe, 2017. Mentioned and reproduced: pp. 7, 10 Lal, Ruby. Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan. New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Company, 2018. Reproduced: color plate after p. 142 Singh, Kavita, editor. Scent Upon a Southern Breeze: The Synaesthetic Arts of the Deccan. Mumbai, India: Marg Foundation, 2018. Reproduced: fig. 10, p. 101, and back cover EXHIBITION HISTORY A Flower From Every Meadow. Asia House Gallery, New York, NY; Center for Asian Art and Culture, San Francisco, CA; Albright-Know Gallery of Art, Buffalo, NY (1973) Main Asian Rotation (Gallery 245). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (December 31, 2013-June 30, 2014). Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

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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