Prince Qasim and the Champions of Iran and Turan, Folio from a Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza)

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Prince Qasim and the Champions of Iran and Turan, Folio from a Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza)

India, Mughal empire, circa 1570
Drawings; watercolors
Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink with mica on cotton (recto), ink and gold on paper (verso)
Sheet: 31 x 24 7/8 in. (78.74 x 63.18 cm); Image: 26 5/8 x 20 1/4 in. (67.63 x 51.44 cm)
From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Museum Associates Purchase (M.78.9.1)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

This scene depicts an episode from an epic whose hero is Hamza, warrior and uncle of the prophet Muhammad....
This scene depicts an episode from an epic whose hero is Hamza, warrior and uncle of the prophet Muhammad. One of a set of 1,400 paintings on cloth, this unusually large illustration was held up to view while the text relating the tale was recited aloud. The Hanzanama was a favorite with Akbar (1542-1605), third Mughal emperor of India and an influential patron of the arts. The twelve volumes of the series were executed in his imperial atelier under the supervision of two Persian painters: Mir Sayyid Ali and Khwaja Abd as-Samad. These artists helped create the Mughal style, a new school of painting incorporating Turkish, Persian, and other painting traditions. Only about 140 works from Akbar's Hamzanama are known to survive. The painting exhibits Indian style in its attention to the women's postures and the folds of their clothing as well as to the intricate, naturalistic foliage of the tree trunks. The substantial architectural setting is also an Indian preoccupation, although its elements, the portico and pavilion, are Persian, as are the intricately patterned surfaces of wall, floor tiles, and roofs, the three-quarter profiles, and shading. Standard pictorial elements identify warriors, retainers, and attendants. Absence of linear perspective makes a lively contrast with the more naturalistically rendered figures and the foreshortened red carpet. The vertical tilt of courtyard and pavilion conveys the tumultuous entry of the heroes in the foreground, reaffirming the narrative action.
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Bibliography

  • Rosenfield, John.  The Arts of India and Nepal: The Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection.  Boston:  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1966.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. Indian Paintings in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1982.
  • Rosenfield, John.  The Arts of India and Nepal: The Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection.  Boston:  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1966.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. Indian Paintings in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1982.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Thomas W. Lentz, Sheila R. Canby, Edwin Binney, 3rd, Walter B. Denny, and Stephen Markel. "Arts from Islamic Cultures: Los Angeles County Museum of Art." Arts of Asia 17, no. 6 (November/December 1987): 73-130.

  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. Indian Painting, vol.1. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1993.
  • Seyller, John William and Thackston, W. M.  The Adventures of Hamza: Painting and Storytelling in Mughal India.  Washington, DC and London: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and Azimuth Editions Limited, 2002.
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