Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Tree on a River Bank

Object Name:
Illustrated album leaf or single work
Date:
16th century
Geography:
Attributed to India
Medium:
Painted on cotton
Dimensions:
Image: H. 9 in. (22.9 cm) W. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm) Page: H. 14 in. (35.6 cm) W. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/14 in. (36.2 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
18.76.2
Not on view
The style of this painting and the presence of a gold bell in the upper right-hand corner indicate that it was cut out of a larger composition, most likely one of the illustrations from the Hanzanama, produced for the young Akbar. The painterly treatment of the tree trunk, the yellow edging of its leaves and the black outlining of the rocks all conform to the style of illustrations in the Hanzanama, particularly those attributed to Basawan and the artists who collaborated with him. Likewise, the rendering of the river in the foreground with its eddies painted in parallel white lines on a black, perhaps once silver, ground compares closely to examples of water in the Hanzanama.

The large bell at the upper right suggests that this scene included one of the giants that figure in the adventures of Hamza, the uncle of the prophet Muhammad whose fictionalized life story involves spies, monsters, and other outsized characters. The giants depicted in the Hanzanama are huge by comparison to the human figures and all of their accoutrements are enormous as well, so this bell which is large by comparison to the tree would not be out of place in such an image.

Moreover, in the extant pages of the manuscript the only bells are those "worn" by animals such as camels and elephants, which are smaller and differently shaped from the one in this painting.

Sheila Canby in [Calza 2012]










[ Léonce Rosenberg, Paris, until 1918; his sale, Anderson Galleries, New York,May 3, 1918, lot 69, to MMA]
Rome. Museo Fondazione Roma. "Akbar: The Great Emperor of India," October 22, 2012–February 3, 2013, no. II.8.

Seyller, John, Thackston M. Wheeler, Ebba Koch, Antoinette Owen, and Rainald Franz. The Adventures of Hamza. Washington, D.C.; London: Azimuth Editions, 2002. p. 279, ill. (b/w).

Calza, Gian Carlo. "The Great Emperor of India." In Akbar. Milan: Skira, 2012. no. II.8, pp. 121, 244, ill. p. 121 (color).



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