The Hamzanama recounts the fable of Hamza, an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad who was a legendary defender of the faith. This painting illustrates an episode involving 'Umar, a spy loyal to Hamza, who learns of a secret tunnel into Fulad castle from the soldier whom he has bested. It comes from a multivolume, large-scale copy of the text made for the emperor Akbar that took approximately fifteen years to complete. Unlike most books, its paintings were probably meant to be held up for an audience while a storyteller recited the text.
Inscription: Inscription in Persian in nasta‘liq script at bottom:
سیر کردن عمر بر گرد حصار فولاد و پیاده دیدن و جفت لگدی برو زدن و افتادن پیاده که او عیّار فولاد بود
‘Umar walks around Fulad castle, meets a foot soldier, and kicks him to the ground . . .
Anderson Galleries, New York, December 17–23, 1923, lot 242, to MMA
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Indian Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1973–April 1, 1973, no catalogue.
New York. Asia Society. "Akbar's India: Art from the Mughal City of Victory," October 10, 1985–January 5, 1986, no. 11.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. pp. 52-54.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammadan Art. Iran Library. Tehran: Bongah Tarjomeh va Nashr Ketab, 1957. pp. 52-54.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 3rd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1958. pp. 52-54.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. Publications, 36.. Lahore: The Panjabi Adabi Academy, 1964. pp. 52-54.
Brand, Michael. "Art from the Mughal City of Victory." In Akbar's India. New York: Asia Society, 1985. no. 11, pp. 31, 138, ill. p. 31 (color).
Seyller, John, Thackston M. Wheeler, Ebba Koch, Antoinette Owen, and Rainald Franz. The Adventures of Hamza. Washington, D.C.; London: Azimuth Editions, 2002. no. 55, pp.170-171, 267, ill. (color), (related) p. 301.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 244, pp. 339, 348-349, ill. p. 349 (color).