"A Bathhouse Keeper is Consumed by Passion for his Beloved", Folio from a Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusrau Dihlavi
Amir Khusrau Dihlavi (1253–1325)
Painted by Nar Singh
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
present-day Pakistan, Lahore
Main support: Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Margins: Gold on dyed paper
9 3/4 x 6 1/4in. (24.8 x 15.9cm)
Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913
Not on view
Matla’ al-Anwar (Rising of the Luminaries), the first poem of Amir Khusrau Dihlavi’s Quintet, is comprised of 3310 verses compiled approximately in twenty Maqalat (didactic discourses). Matla’ al-Anwar is a response by Amir Khusrau to Nizami Ganjavi’s Makhzan al-Asrar. Painted at Lahore by Nar sing, this painting shows a bathhouse keeper who falls in love when he sees the king on his visit with his retinue. Attention gained by the King, stokes the heat of mystical love that enflames the bathhouse keeper. The King and most of his entourage raise their index fingers in awe and surprise at the sight of the beholder. The painting has a border in siyah qalam (monochrome) style with deer, foxes, hares, and hunting lions in a naturalistic setting with birds perching in the trees.
Inscription: 'amal-i Narasimha
Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
Wellesz, Emmy. Akbar's Religious Thought as Reflected in Mogul Painting. London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1952. ill. fig. 29.
Seyller, John. "The Walters Art Museum Khamsa of Amir Khusraw of Delhi." In Pearls of the Parrot of India.. Baltimore, MD: Walters Art Museum, 2001. no. II, pp. 48-49, ill. fig. 5 (color).
Brend, Barbara. "Illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsa." In Perspectives on Persian Painting. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. pp. 198, 226-38, pp. 48, 264.