Two Mughal Princesses Hunting Gamer Birds from the St. Petersburg Album

citation

The borders (signed by M. Baqir) surrounding the painting are decorated in gold with animals in formalized landscapes.

The borders (signed and dated 1757-58 by M. Hadi) surrounding the six panels of nasta’liq calligraphy are decorated with large floral arabesques in silver and gold on dark blue.

Maker(s)
Artist: Imad al-Hasani (died 1615)
Borders: Muhammad Baqir (mid-18th century) Muhammad Hadi (Iranian, active mid-18th century)
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, ca. 1680; borders mid-18th c.
Movement
Mughal Court
School
Mughal School
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 32.4 x 47.6 cm (12 3/4 x 18 3/4 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by an anonymous donor and the Friends of Asian Arts
Accession Number
F1994.4
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album folio with painting

Keywords
elephant, flower, hunting, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1739
Mughal Imperial Library, Delhi, to 1739 [1]

To late 19th century
Persian Imperial Library, to late 19th century [2]

B y late 19th century
Russian Imperial Library (probably), by late 19th century [3]

Private collection, Europe [4]

To 1994
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York City, to 1994

From 1994
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in 1994

Notes:

[1] Indian paintings in the St. Petersburg Album were taken from Delhi, India in the 1739 sack of the imperial capital of the Mughal dynasty (1526-1858) by Nadir Shah of Persia. Many of the finest Mughal paintings were included in the loot, and several were assembled (in Iran) into an album. In the later 19th century, the album was taken apart and dispersed in Europe - with the major portion ending up in the Russian Imperial Collections. Other works were sold through the art market at that time. All known pages from the St. Petersburg Album have been out of Iran for a century, and the Indian paintings were taken from India more than 250 years ago (see Curatorial Note 5, Milo C. Beach, March 4, 1994, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
Mughal Imperial Library
Persian Imperial Library
Russian Imperial Library

Description

The borders (signed by M. Baqir) surrounding the painting are decorated in gold with animals in formalized landscapes.

The borders (signed and dated 1757-58 by M. Hadi) surrounding the six panels of nasta'liq calligraphy are decorated with large floral arabesques in silver and gold on dark blue.

Label

Paintings of Mughal kings hunting typically depict their prowess. In contrast, this lyrical hunt scene portrays royal women as elegant observers moving through a verdant landscape. The artist bathes the marshy landscape in washes of rich green color but renders the princesses and the two camouflaged attendants with jewel-like precision. If, however, the attendants' green garb signals their role as hunters, the princesses' diaphanous garments reveal their bodies for the viewer's gaze.

This painting, which is the earliest Mughal representation of women at the hunt, exemplifies the interest in landscape painting that developed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1627-58).

Published References
  • Ebba Koch. Dara-Shikoh Shooting Nilgais: Hunt and Landscape in Mughal Painting. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. p. 41, fig. 28.
  • Peter N. Stearns. World History in Brief: Major Patterns of Change and Continuity., 6th Edition. New York. cover.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 22H, p. 137.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum