"Red-Headed Vulture and Long-Billed Vulture", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Artist: Painting by Mansur (active ca. 1589–1626)

Calligrapher: Mir 'Ali Haravi (d. ca. 1550)

Object Name: Album leaf

Date: verso: ca. 1615–20; recto: ca. 1535–45

Geography: Attributed to India

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: H. 15 3/8 in. (39.1 cm)
W. 10 1/16 in. (25.6 cm)_

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955

Accession Number:


The artist Mansur became such a master in painting flora and fauna that he received the title nadir al-'asr, "rare one of the age." Ornithologically accurate, the vultures as revealed by the brush of Mansur are far more than avian specimens. His masterful hand is evident in the subtle gradations of sooty hues and pearly beige and gray shades of the feathers. The sketchy rock suggestive of ground plane and the linear outline of the half-toned rock are not an actual habitat but a plausible setting out of the artist’s imagination.