A Banquet Scene from the Tarikh-i-Alfi

Artist: Tarya
Calligrapher: Nar Singh (Painted between late 1580s and 1604)
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Akbar, ca. 1592-1594
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W (painting - recto): 42.1 × 22.7 cm (16 9/16 × 8 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Manuscript folio

celebration, cymbal, drum, eating, horse, India, lute, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, reed instrument, Reign of Akbar (1556 - 1605)
Provenance research underway.

Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) commissioned several of his Islamic scholars to jointly write the history of the first thousand years of  the Islamic world. The work was completed in 1593-94, and the manuscript seems to have contained some three hundred illustrations. Since the accompanying text does not correspond to the painting and speaks instead of an army, elephants, and camels at the gate of the city of Samarra, the person depicted as host of the banquet has not been identified. However, the lively and spirited scene tells us much about celebrations during the era.

Published References
  • Percy Brown. An Illustrated History of the Moslem World Written for the "Great Mogul". vol. 4, no. 2 New York, February 1932. p. 29.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 11C, p. 79.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 10c, pp. 98, 95.
  • William Muir. The Caliphate: Its Rise, Decline, and Fall., 3rd ed. London. p. 517 f.
  • Encyclopedia of Islam. Suppl. vol., Leiden and London. p. 547.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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