Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Shirin Praying And Khusrau Hunting
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour, gold and ink on paper
Page 43.8 x 31.2 cm; Image 35 x 24.5 cm
Hyderabad, the capital of Golconda, was a thriving centre for the arts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when a confluence of international patrons and painters worked together to create manuscripts of Hindu, Mughal and Persian subjects, often illustrated in a flamboyantly eclectic style. ‘Khusrau hunting’ represents this style well. The subject is the ever-popular one of a princely or kingly hunt as a demonstration of the power and control over conquered lands. The source of the illustration is taken from the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, the famous twelfth-century Persian poet. In this version, Khusrau and his men exhibit a fascinating combination of Safavid attributes in a flamboyant Hyderabad painting style. The ruler’s men all wear late Safavid turbans and some, including Khusrau, sport moustaches, à la Shah 'Abbas I (r. 1587-1629 CE) and Shah 'Abbas II (r. 1642-66 CE), but the colourful, eclectic palette of the painting - note the mint-green landscape divided by mauve rock formations and lavish use of gold - reflects Hyderabad style
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