At a Party Given in 1507 for Emperor Babur, a Roast Duck Is Carved for Him By His Cousin
Page from a dispersed manuscript of the Baburnama (Book of Babur)
Artist/maker unknown, Mughal
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This scene depicts Babur, the first Mughal emperor (ruled 1526-30), at a feast in a garden in Herat, Afghanistan. It clearly shows the hierarchy of court life: Babur sits in an open pavilion accompanied by his cousin, who arranged the meal, as servants wave long scarves to ward off flies. Meanwhile the other guests-Babur's close associates and some of his warriors-eat on the ground outside. Babur was only twenty-four years old at this time. Although already an accomplished warrior and leader, he writes that he did not know how to cut up the roast goose placed before him. His cousin graciously carved the bird, receiving the young man's gratitude.