Emperor Babur with Attendants in a Garden

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Babur, ca. 1590
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W: 19.1 x 12.2 cm (7 1/2 x 4 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


attendant, emperor, garden, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858)
Provenance research underway.

The central figure in this composition has been identified as Babur, the second Mughal emperor (reigned 1526-30). An avid naturalist, Babur commissioned numerous gardens outside fortresses and citadels to symbolize his claim over his newly conquered domain. In this drawing, the rocky mountains of the background suggest a relatively untamed setting for the garden, which is dominated by a canopied platform. Placed at the intersection of a small pool and four water channels, the structure serves much like a throne, the definitive emblem of royal power and sovereignty.

Published References
  • The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal. Washington, 2000. p. 42.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 61, pp. 102-103.
  • Elizabeth B. Moynihan. Paradise as a Garden: Persia and Mughal India. World Landscape Art and Architecture Series New York. p. 108.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Emperors, Peris, and Demons in Near Eastern Art. Washington, November 1978. p. 148.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 26, p. 154, fig. 43.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 26, pp. 198-199.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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