Depicting Diplomacy

Though Babur describes receptions at Kabul and Delhi, these two illustrations are generalized palace scenes. Farrukh Beg likely created both paintings for another project and altered them slightly to fit the new manuscript. Trained in Iran, Farrukh Beg adapted to new tastes in India. In the first painting, most figures have round, idealized faces in the Persian mode, but some, like the black-robed elder courtier to Babur’s left, display the softly modeled, expressive faces favored at Akbar’s court. The flat panels of decoration and minutely patterned surfaces are typical of Persian painting. The roughly painted melons at the foot of Babur’s throne may have been added by another artist, perhaps as a reference to the emperor’s favorite fruit.

folio depicting individuals in a doorway and in front of a building/tree
Babur Entertains in Sultan Ibrahim Lodi’s Palace
Folio from the First Baburnama
By Farrukh Beg (active early 1580s–1619)
Pakistan, Lahore, Mughal dynasty, ca. 1585
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Purchase—Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery