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Milo Cleveland Beach and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[(Khwāja) ‛Abd al-Ṣamad; ‛Abd as-Ṣamad; Abdus Ṣamad]

(fl c. 1540–95).

Iranian miniature painter and calligrapher, active also in India. Trained in Safavid Iran, ‛Abd al-Samad migrated to India, where he became director of the Mughal painting workshops under the emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). In this key position, he influenced the development of Mughal painting in the second half of the 16th century more than any other artist (see Indian subcontinent §VI 4., (i), (b)).

No inscribed works by ‛Abd al-Samad are known from the period when he worked in Safavid Iran, though attributions have been proposed, such as a depiction of the assassination of Khusraw Parviz from the copy of the Shāhnāma made for Shah Tahmasp I (reg 1524–76). Already a mature painter, he paid homage in 1544 to Akbar’s father, the Mughal emperor Humayun (reg 1530–40; 1555–6), when the exiled ruler was given refuge at the court of the Safavid shah Tahmasp at Tabriz. In ...


Sheila R. Canby

[Mīr Sayyid ‛Alī-i Tabrīzī]

(b Tabriz, c. 1510; d Mecca, after 1572).

Persian painter, active also in India. He was the son of the Safavid-period painter Mir Musavvir. Though Qazi Ahmad, writing in the late 16th century, deemed him cleverer in art than his father, Mir Sayyid ‛Ali reveals paternal influence in his meticulous rendering of ornamental patterns and details. As he was a junior artist at the time of the royal Shāhnāma of c. 1525–35 (dispersed, see Dickson and Welch), his contribution to this was limited. Only two miniatures (fols 135v and 568r; priv. col. and New York, Met., respectively; see 1979–80 exh. cat., nos 20 and 33) are attributed to him, and possibly passages in other works by Sultan Muhammad and Aqa Mirak. By the time of the illustration of the Khamsa (‘Five poems’) of Nizami of 1539–42 (London, BL, Or. MS. 2265), Mir Sayyid ‛Ali was a first-rank Safavid court artist, painting four (or possibly five) miniatures, three (or possibly four) of which were subsequently removed from the manuscript (Cambridge, MA, Sackler Mus., 1958.75 and 1958.76; Edinburgh, Royal Mus. Scotland, ...


Alan Powers

(Irving Jeffrey)

(b Haiphong, French Indo-China [now Vietnam], Oct 16, 1900; d Rodmersham, Kent, Nov 8, 1979).

English illustrator and author. From 1905 he grew up in England, becoming a professional artist in 1926 after part-time study at the Westminster School of Art, London. He became known as an illustrator of genre scenes in a variety of media, often with a comic Victorian flavour. He was best known for illustrated stories, the first of which, Little Tim and the Brave Sea-captain (Oxford, 1936), was followed by numerous imaginative and popular children’s books and by many other illustrated books. Baggage to the Enemy (London, 1941) reflected his appointment in 1940 as an Official War Artist, recording the German invasion of France, and the North African and Italian campaigns. His freelance career continued after the war with a steady production of illustrative and ephemeral work in an instantly recognizable style that relied on ink line and delicate washes.

The Young Ardizzone: An Autobiographical Fragment (London, 1970) Diary of a War Artist...



Milo Cleveland Beach

[Basāwan; Basāvana]

(fl c. 1556–1600).

Indian miniature painter. One of the great talents to flourish under the emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), he was a prolific painter who contributed to virtually all the great illustrated manuscripts executed in the imperial workshops over a span of some 40 years. While most Mughal artists were concerned with the importance of line, colour and surface pattern, Basawan, with a greater understanding of the techniques of imported European works, developed a palette closer to that of European oil painting and dissolved outlines to create greater three-dimensionality. In his work, surface patterns are subservient to a dramatic spatial penetration of the picture plane. These traits were quite new within both Indian and Islamic traditions, and Basawan led the vanguard in adopting them. His work is remarkable also for the complexity of his compositions, his skill at giving roundness and density to his figures and his sensitive portrait-like faces. A contemporary assessment of Basawan is found in the ...


Anand Krishna

(fl c. 1580–c. 1604).

Indian miniature painter. Not to be confused with the contemporary master Farrukh Beg, he was a middle-rank, prolific painter who contributed to most of the major illustrated manuscripts produced for the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), starting from the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580; London, BL, OR 4615) and ending with the Akbarnāma (‘History of Akbar’; c. 1590; London, V&A, IS.2:1896). His personal style can be detected in certain leaves of the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’). He seems to have been a disciple (chela) in Akbar’s new religion, the Tauhid-i Ilahi. He sometimes used the epith khurd (‘younger’), which would distinguish him from another Farrukh with the epithet kalan (‘elder’), presumably Farrukh Beg.

Like other painters of Akbar’s court, Farrukh Chela must have been fully trained in the given style when he entered the imperial studio, yet he retained his personal (perhaps traditional) style, which is well projected in his paintings. A single-handed painting from the ...


Philippa Vaughan


(fl c. 1580s–1602).

Indian miniature painter. His only known attributed work is in the Jog-bashisht (1602; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., Ind. MS. 5), the Persian translation of a Sanskrit text on Vedanta philosophy. The manuscript has 41 illustrations produced at Allahabad under the patronage of Prince Salim (later the Mughal emperor Jahangir, reg 1605–27). However, Haribans began his career in the 1580s in the studio of Akbar (reg 1556–1605), for he is named 16th of the 17 painters listed in order of seniority in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration as it was c. 1590.

The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court (exh. cat. by M. C. Beach; Washington, DC, Freer, 1981) The Art of the Book in India (exh. cat. by J. P. Losty; London, BL, 1982) M. C. Beach: Early Mughal Painting (Cambridge, MA, 1987) L. Y. Leach: Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library...



John Seyller

[Mahes; Maheśa]

(fl c. 1560–1600).

Indian miniature painter. An accomplished artist who contributed to at least a dozen manuscripts produced for the emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), he worked in a style that represents the mainstream of Mughal painting in the 1580s. His work is characterized by lively figures, bright colours and compositions in which surface design dominates and spatial recession is negligible. His name appears in a list of 17 painters in the Āyīn-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration.

Paintings have been attributed to him (Beach) in such early manuscripts as the Ṭū ṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’; c. 1570; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A., MS. 62.279, fol. 23r; alternatively dated c. 1560–65) and the Ḥamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; dated c. 1557–72 by the present author and alternatively c. 1562–77; e.g. Washington, DC, Freer, 60.15; and New York, Brooklyn Mus., 24.29). However, the earliest works with inscriptions actually naming Mahesh as the painter appear in the ...


Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....



John Seyller


(fl c. 1570–1600).

Indian miniature painter. All known works by Mukund were painted under the patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). He must have joined the court atelier before the time of the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850), for the earliest works ascribed to him record the rare assignment of both the design and execution of six illustrations in that manuscript and another five in the Khamsa (‘Five poems’) of Nizami of c. 1585 (London, priv. col.). His prominence in the atelier is affirmed by ascriptions in all major manuscripts of the 1580s and 1590s and his inclusion among the 17 painters named in the Āyīn-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration.

Like most Mughal painters, Mukund was capable of working in a variety of styles, from the relatively open composition, stocky figures, and nīm qalam (uncoloured) style of the ...


Sheila R. Canby

[Mīr Muṣavvir]

(b Termez or Badakhshan, late 15th century; fl Tabriz, c. 1510–48; d India, c. 1555).

Persian illustrator and painter. According to the contemporary chronicler Dust Muhammad, Mir Musavvir and Aqa Mirak were two matchless sayyids in service to the Safavid royal library who did wall paintings for the palace of Prince Sam Mirza and illustrations for royal manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’) and Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’). Manuchihr Enthroned (fol. 60v) from the monumental copy (dispersed; ex-Houghton priv. col.) of the Shāhnāma made for Tahmasp (reg 1524–76) is signed on a courtier’s turban, and a verse couplet written in the iwan in Nushirwan and the Owls (fol. 15v) in a magnificent copy (London, BL, Or. MS. 2265) of the Khamsa, made for the Shah between 1539 and 1543, says that it was penned by Mir Musavvir in 1539–40. A portrait of the steward Sarkhan Beg (London, BM, 1930–11–12–02) is also inscribed as the work of Mir Musavvir....



Heather Elgood

[Tara Kalan]

(fl c. 1560–1600).

Indian miniature painter. His work conformed to the conventions of the period of patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), and he contributed to at least five manuscripts during this time. His work is characterized by a love of bright primary colours and a lively sense of movement and realism. By 1590 his work shows an experienced hand and a firm handling of the brush, with a clear grasp of the techniques of stippling and feathered shading. Possibly a Hindu, Tara appears fairly low on the list of 17 prized artists compiled by Abu’l-Fazl, Akbar’s court biographer, in the Āyīn-i Akbarī. In a detailed study of the Ṭū ṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’; c. 1560–65; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A., MS. 62.279), two folios are assigned to this artist. This would place Tara on the level of the more senior artists in the workshop in the early years of Akbar’s patronage....