INDIA | MUGHAL

A leaf from the Shahnameh
India, Imperial Mughal Court
c. 1600, Akbar Period
Gouache on paper

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A leaf from the Shahnameh
India, Imperial Mughal Court
c. 1600, Akbar Period
Gouache on paper
Folio: 17 3/4 x 14 in. (45 x 35.5 cm.)
Image: 12 1/4 x 9 in. (31.1 x 23 cm.)

Provenance: 
Estate of Theordore Allen Heinrich (1910-1981).
Professor Heinrich was an art historian, curator and educator. From 1955 to 1962, he was the director of the Royal Ontario Museum, and afterwards he taught art history at the University of Saskatchewan and York University.

This painting represents the conclusion of a tale of forbidden love between the Iranian warrior Bizhan and the princess Manizha, daughter of the Turanian king Afrasiyab. Crossing the border to see the fair maidens of Turan encamped at a spring festival, Bizhan encountered Manizha, and the two were so powerfully attracted to each other that they trysted in her tent for three days. When Afrasiyab learned of the affair, he arrested Bizhan and imprisoned him in a dark pit covered by a heavy stone, with only the dishonored Manizha to keep him alive.
Eventually, Bizhan was saved by the Iranian hero Rustam, who was the only one strong enough to remove the stone from the mouth of the pit.
The painting shows the moment of rescue. Rustam, dressed in his tiger-skin coat, has cast away the stone and with a rope pulls the chained, Bizhan up from the depths. On the left stands Manizha. Encircling the main scene, a crowd of admiring soldiers witnesses the rescue mission.

Leaf from the Madhavanala Kamakandla
India, Provincial Mughal
Late 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper

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Leaf from the Madhavanala Kamakandla
India, Provincial Mughal
Late 18th century
Gouache and gold on paper
12 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (31 x 18.5 cm.)

The Madhavanala Kamakandla story is of a Brahmin boy name Madhavnala in the service of King Govindachandra of Pushpavati. A handsome, musically and artistically gifted young man, Madhavanala was envied by the King’s courtiers and they persuaded the King to banish him. Through a series of events Madhavanala is again banished, but not before falling in love with Kamakandla. After being separated for some time Madhavanala learns that Kamakandla has passed, and upon hearing the news he himself dies of grief. As it turns out Kamakandla is in fact still alive and upon hearing of her paramour’s demise she instantly dies of grief.

A Drunken Prince Led to Bed
North India, Lucknow
c. 18th century, Mughal period
Gouache heightened with gold on paper

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A Drunken Prince Led to Bed
North India, Lucknow
c. 18th century, Mughal period
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 13 x 11 1/4 in. (33 x 28.5 cm.)
Image: 9 5/8 x 7 1/2 in. (24.5 x 19 cm.)

Provenance:
Christie’s, London, 4 October 2012, Lot 178 

A drunken prince is led to his bedchamber by female attendants and musicians as dawn is heralded by the cockerel and the grey half-light of the new day. Lucknow was given the reputation of being highly elaborate, from their poetry to their culture, indulging in excess and embracing decadence. The present painting illustrates this zeal, showing a finely dressed prince who has reveled into the early morning hours and consequently become intoxicated. Terrace scenes incorporating musicians such as this were popular in Awadh (the region where Lucknow is located), a composition technique adopted from the nearby Mughals.
The Nawabs of Awadh were originally appointed in the 18th century as governors of the rich agricultural province by the Mughal empire, but gained independence as their power faltered. In the latter part of the century, many Mughal artists, poets, and nobility fled to Awadh in search of stability amidst uncertain times for the Mughal empire. This socio-political climate, along with a growing European presence, prompted the development of an Awadh substyle. Artists took inspiration from European styles, paying attention to spatial depth and figural volume, hoping to escape the Mughal standards of painting in search of their own. One characteristic and widespread feature applied across Awadh paintings is the aerial perspective, exemplified in the current work by giving the impression that the viewer is slightly above the figures’ eye level.
The Awadhi region saw itself as a cultural successor to the Mughal dynasty when they showed signs of decline in the 18th century, providing a pool of patrons for artists to work for who commissioned pieces like the painting illustrated here. With gracefully patterned, gold illuminated margins, this work demonstrates the skill and precision possessed by the artists of Awadh before they conformed to the popular Company style in the 19th century.

A Leaf from a Ragamala series: Todi Ragini
India, Provincial Mughal
c. 1800 
Gouache and gold on prepared paper
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A Leaf from a Ragamala series: Todi Ragini
India, Provincial Mughal
c. 1800 
Gouache and gold on prepared paper
Folio: 13 x 10 (33 x 25.4 cm.) 
Image: 4 7/8 x 7 1/8 in. (12.4 x 18.1 cm.)
Provenance:
Private UK collection
The lone lady playing the vina and watched by deer, standing between a lotus pool and a lake, palaces in the background, laid down on cardboard with gilt floral sprays between blue borders with gold scroll work.
Madonna and Child
India, Mughal Period
c. 1700
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
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Madonna and Child
India, Mughal Period
c. 1700
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 20 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. (52.07 x 38.74 cm.)
Image: 9 x 7 in. (22.86 x 17.78 cm.)
Provenance:
From a Private New York collection
In September of 1579, upon sending a representative to Goa, emperor Akbar Proclaimed:
“…I am sending Abdullah, my ambassador, and Dominic Perez (an Armenian Christian, the interpreter) with the request that you will send me two learned Fathers and the books of Law, especially the Gospel, that I may know the Law and its excellence…”
This began a close relationship between the Mughals and the Jesuits which developed a syncretic union of both art and culture.
This abundantly luxurious illustration is a fine example of a refreshingly unique theme present in Mughal court painting in which European artistic modes were emulated, ushering in an entirely new host of subjects, a substantial portion of them religious.
The Virgin Mary is pictured elegantly in the foreground, adorned in jewels and garbed in bold oranges and purples, elaborately decorated with gold floral detail. The playful baby Jesus is being offered a fruit, most likely either a fig or an apple, classic symbols of redemption. The background is filled with a tranquil and serene landscape as lush trees, hills, and a body of water fill the distance under a blue sky.
European prints by Flemish masters working under the influence of Albrecht Dürer were accessible to the painters of Akbar’s studio (a Mughal miniature of the Virgin and Child, done circa 1600 after an engraving by Dürer is in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, reproduced in Amina Okada, Imperial Mughal Painters. Indian Miniatures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Paris, 1992, p. 24, no. 24).
A closely related painting to the present can be seen at the National Museum, New Delhi, accession no. 58.20/28 “Mother Mary and Child Christ”

Nymph Rambha cursed by Vishvamitra
India, Sub-Imperial Mughal
c. early 17th century 
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper

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Nymph Rambha cursed by Vishvamitra
India, Sub-Imperial Mughal
c. early 17th century 
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
5 1/2 in. x 3 1/8 in. (13 x 8 cm.)

Rambha in Hindu mythology is the Queen of the Apsaras, the magical and beautiful female beings in Devaloka (a plane of existence where gods and devas, which are described as spirits, demi-gods or celestial beings, exist). She is unrivalled in her accomplishments in the arts of dancing, music and love-making. She is often asked by the king of the DevasIndra to break the tapasya (a means to purify and strengthen ones devotion to God) of sages so that the purity of their penance is tested against temptation, and also that the order of the three worlds remains undisturbed by any one man’s mystical powers. When she tries to disturb the penance of Rishi Vishwamitra (who is doing it to become a Brahmarishi), she is cursed by him to become a rock for 10,000 years till a brahmin delivers her from the curse. A painting of a similar subject in the Freer Ramayana collection is published as catalogue number 15k, page 148 in Beach, 1981.

This very early depiction of this episode is best described by the following translation:

“The God Indra decreed another test of Vishvamitra’s concentration and ordered the nymph Rambha to seduce the sage.
… the nymph obeyed
In all her loveliest charms arrayed,
With winning ways and witching smile
She sought the hermit to beguile.
The sweet note of that tuneful bird
The saint with ravished bosom heard,
And on his heart a rapture passed
As on the nymph a look he cast.
But when he heard the bird prolong
His sweet incomparable song,
And saw the nymph with winning smile,
The hermit’s heart perceived the wile.” (Beach, 1981)

Reference
Beach, Milo, The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court, Freer Gallery of Art, 1981, Washington D.C.

Portrait of Nawab Jiwan Khan / Nobleman at Leisure
India, Mughal
Early 18th century
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper

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Portrait of Nawab Jiwan Khan / Nobleman at Leisure
India, Mughal
Early 18th century
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
Folio: 13 1/2 x 9 3/8 in. (34.3 x 23.8 cm.)
Image: 9 5/8 x 6 7/8 in. (24.4 x 17.5 cm.)

Mounted as an album folio with gold inner borders and ruled lines. Natural buff outer borders. Inscribed with black ink Devanagari script in the upper border.
Verso: backed with three couplets of poetry in black ink Nasta’liq script on buff paper, blue inner and pink outer borders with gold and black ruled lines.
The nobleman sits regally on a golden throne wearing a Deccani turban. Distracted he holds his favorite falcon on his gloved right hand as he calmly smokes from a longstemmed hookah balanced on a three-legged table on a stark white marble terrace with jali-screen borders. An attendant stands silently behind waving a slender morchal (a peacock-feathered fan) a symbol of royal authority. Before a river with green hills beyond. The sun sets in vibrant red streaks.

Prince with Maidens
India, Mughal
c. 1750-1800 
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper

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Prince with Maidens
India, Mughal
c. 1750-1800
Gouache heightened with gold on prepared paper
Image (inc. gold foliate border): 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (18.3 x 21.6 cm.)

Provenance:
Private UK collection

A young prince dressed in green leans against a purple bolster cushion, as he is offered a wine cup and paan (?) by his companion as she rests against a golden bolster decorated with floral sprays. A group of female maidens attend them both, holding candles, flywhisks as a tabla player provides entertainment in this lovely night scene.

Baz Bahadur and Rupmanti Hunting at Night
India, Mughal, Delhi
Mid-18th century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper

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Baz Bahadur and Rupmanti Hunting at Night
India, Mughal, Delhi
Mid-18th century
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
Folio: 8 3/8 x 10 7/8 in. (21.3 x 27.7 cm.)
Image: 7.75 x 10 1/8 in. (19.7 x 25.7 cm.)

Provenance:
Sotheby’s, New York, 6 October 1990, Lot 19
William K. Ehrenfeld collection, California

Published:
Daniel J. Ehnbom, Indian Miniatures, The Ehrenfeld Collection, catalogue of the traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts, September 1985-November 1987, no. 30, illus.

The couple gazes admiringly at each other, as they are seated on galloping horses during their evening hunt. Baz Bahadur wears a bright yellow jama holding a spear in his right hand with a quiver of arrows hung around his waist. Rupmanti is wearing a translucent garment, adorned by a pearl necklace with multiple strands and a fine sarpech affixed to her turban. The night scne of the forest is shown brilliantly with hints of light green bushes. A vibrant deep blue skyline contrasting the dark gray terrain with a shallow lotus pond at lower right balances the composition. For comparable see: Mushidabad cf. Falk and Archer, India Office Library, p. 199, no. 372.

Ladies in a Zenana
India, Provincial Mughal
c. 1800

Gouache heightened with gold on paper, edged with brocaded silk

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Ladies in a Zenana
India, Provincial Mughal
c. 1800

Gouache heightened with gold on paper, edged with brocaded silk.
Folio: 13 1/3 x 10 1/2 in. (34 x 26.5 cm.)
Image: 7 2/3 x 4 (19.5 x 12 cm.)

Two women covered with a sari and richly dressed wait under a canopy, a servant near her, an old woman approaches on the left. The palace is richly decorated with mosaic in pietra dura with refined alcoves that welcome bouquets and dishes. In the distance, in the sky, some kites. Margins covered with woven silk