Developing a Visual Language

Akbar’s artists created multiple illustrated manuscripts of the Baburnama. This folio, from their first copy of the manuscript, depicts a seventeen-year-old Babur relaxing after a successful battle at Pishkaran (modern Uzbekistan). To depict a scene that took place over half a century earlier, Akbar’s artists deployed standard motifs, including a cluster of tents and a servant pounding in a hitching post, to convey the energy and activity of a royal encampment.

The Emperor Babur and his men pitching camp in 1500
Folio from a Baburnama
India, Mughal dynasty, 1588–1590
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Gift of Elizabeth B. Moynihan in honor of Milo Cleveland Beach
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery