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The Mughal Ruler Humayun Receives a Traitor's Head
Page separated from the first illustrated manuscript of the Akbarnama, stories of the emperor Akbar

Ascribed to Burah, Indian, active 1580 - 1590. Faces ascribed to Miskin, India, active 1582 - 1596.

Probably made in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, Asia

c. 1590

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 12 3/8 × 7 3/4 inches (31.4 × 19.7 cm) Sheet: 14 1/2 × 9 5/8 inches (36.8 × 24.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the George W. B. Taylor Fund, 1947

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This page, from the first of several illustrated copies of the Akbarnama commissioned by the Emperor Akbar, reveals how artists in the imperial Mughal workshop blended indigenous Indian and Persian painting traditions. Indian features include the use of bold colors, dramatic poses, and substantial bodies. Persian characteristics include the modulated colors, fleshlike rocks, forward-tilting picture plane, and faces in smooth three-quarter profile. Rather than being placed as a caption at the top or back of the page, as in works done for Hindu patrons of the time, the rectangle of text is placed in the middle of the composition following Persian tradition.