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Futuh al-Haramayn (Description of the Holy Cities)

Author:
Muhi al-Din Lari
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
Date:
dated A.H. 1089/A.D. 1678
Geography:
Attributed to India, Deccan, Kharepatan
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
Text block: 5 15/16 x 3 in. (15.1 x 7.6 cm) Entire page: 7 3/8 x 4 5/16 in. (18.8 x 11 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Purchase, funds from various donors, Elizabeth S. Ettinghausen Gift, in memory of Richard Ettinghausen, and Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.251
Not on view
The Futuh al-Haramayn, a guidebook to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina written by Muhi al-din Lari, instructs Muslim pilgrims on the rituals of the hajj and lists the religious sites they can visit. Popularly illustrated in Turkey, Iran, and India, its imagery is usually confined to a tight and somewhat dry formula of bird’s-eye views of courtyards, buildings, and sites. This Deccani version, however, adds considerable flourish through the curving orange lines of the trees, animated purple mountains concealing hidden grotesques at their rocky edges, and bright palette. Never has this pious route looked quite as cheerful and lush as it does through the hand of this anonymous painter.

The Futuh al-Haramayn, a guidebook to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina written by Muhi al-din Lari, instructs pilgrims on the rituals of the hajj and lists the religious sites they can visit. From a popularly illustrated tradition in Turkey, Iran, and India, this manuscript remains within a tight and somewhat dry formula of bird’s-eye views of courtyards, buildings, and outdoor sites.[1] The present copy follows that well-established convention but adds considerable Deccani flourish in the curving, orange lines of the trees; animated, purple mountains concealing hidden grotesques at their rocky edges; and overall bright palette. Never has this pious route looked quite as cheerful and lush as through the hand of this anonymous painter.

The manuscript contains a colophon mentioning a date of A.H. 1089 (A.D.1678) and a place, Qil‘a Bandar, thought to be the city of Kharepatan, which lay in the Bijapur territories just off the western coast of India. The small port town was a center for trade and pilgrimage and likely a place from which a visitor to Mecca would embark. At least five other unpublished manuscripts of the same text remain in the National Museum, New Delhi, demonstrating that this was a commonly illustrated text in India.

Navina Najat Haidar in [Haidar and Sardar 2015]

Footnotes:


Witkam, Jan Just. "Images of Makkah and Medina in an Islamic Prayer Book Hadeeth ad-Dar" (Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah), 2009, no. 30, pp. 27–32.
Inscription: Futuh al-Haramayn manuscript describing and showing the holy sites Mecca and Medina.
On one page there is a date which is outside of the text border in Persian:
تحریر یافت بتاریخ محمرم الحرام سنة 1089 روز چهارشنبه
Written at the date [of the month] Muharram al-Haram of the year 1089/ March 1678 at the day Wednesday.

A.Ghouchani
[ art dealer, Germany; sold to Shyam]; [ Fakhru Shyam, London, until 2000; sold to Fogg]; [ Sam Fogg, London, 2000–2008; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy," April 20, 2015–July 26, 2015, no. 70.

Haidar, Navina, and Marika Sardar. "Opulence and Fantasy." In Sultans of Deccan India 1500–1700. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. no. 70, pp. 152-153, ill. pls. 70a, 70b.



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