Folio from the Gulshan Album (Rose Garden album); recto: Elephant and trainer; verso: Quatrain in nasta’liq allegedly by Mir ‘Ali al-Katib

Artist: Attributed to Farrukh Chela
Calligrapher: Calligraphy by Mir Ali al-Katib (died 1559-60 (AH 937))
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Akbar, Calligraphy ca.1540; "Chained Elephant" ca.1590, borders added ca. 1600
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W (overall): 42.5 x 26.5 cm (16 3/4 x 10 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf with painting

elephant, illumination, India, landscape, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, Reign of Akbar (1556 - 1605)
Provenance research underway.

The Mughal emperor Jahangir (reigned 1605-27) was keenly interested in genre episodes and scenes rendered with naturalism. This painting of a mahout training his elephant was inserted into an album made for Jahangir and is attributed to the court artist Farrukh. The chained elephant, depicted in muted colors and in a linear style, would have appealed to the artistic taste of the emperor. Fantastic rock formations show the influence of Persian and Chinese traditions.

Published References
  • David J. Roxburgh. The Persian Album 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection. New Haven. fig. 172.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. The Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution., 11th printing. Washington. p. 12.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 16c, pp. 69,211,162-3.
  • Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour. Singapore. p. 77, fig. 6.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 64, pp. 108-109.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 20E, p. 109.
  • Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th & 17th Centuries. Exh. cat. Washington, 2007. I-11, p. 239.
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. p. 672.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Worlds within Worlds: Imperial Paintings from India and Iran
Google Cultural Institute
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