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Bhagwan  

Philippa Vaughan

[Bagwan]

(fl late 1570s–c. 1600).

Indian miniature painter. His career illustrates the difficulties experienced by Hindu artists in adjusting to the demanding patronage of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). His nine folios in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’, c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615) are the largest group by a single artist, indicating that he must have worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’, c. 1567–82, alternatively dated c. 1562–77); however, the tracing and awkward juxtaposition of Persian models show that the task was alien to him (fols 23r and 25v). Where Hindu conventions, and especially female forms, could be introduced, he was more confident (fol. 62r). This was a feature of his work in the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’, 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS AG. 1683–1850; fol. 93 designed by Lal, coloured by Bhagwan). Nonetheless, in many of the nine folios, to which he was assigned as colourist with the masters ...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Banvari; Banwari Kalan; Banwali Kalan]

(fl c. 1570–c. 1596).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was a lesser artist active throughout the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). He worked on two folios in the Ṭūṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’, c. 1567, alternatively dated 1556–60; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A., 62.279) and thus would have participated in producing the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’, c. 1567–82, alternatively dated c. 1562–77). His single contribution to the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’, c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 36r) is an awkward composition of carefully traced models from Persian sources. However, his work in the large-scale manuscripts of the 1580s, such as the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’, 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850, fols 15, 34–5, 62, 122 plus one sole composition fol. 168), shows he was a competent colourist. Further, he had a sole composition in the Tīmūrnāma (‘History of Timur’, ...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Kesu; Kesu Kalan; Keshava Kalan]

(fl c. 1570–c. 1602)

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he is best known for his copies and adaptations of European prints, of which the most famous is St Matthew the Evangelist. Signed Kesu Das and dated ah 996 (ad 1587–8), this is based on an engraving by Philip Galle after Maarten van Heemskerck. Kesu Das’s understanding and transformation of European techniques in rendering volume and space made a decisive contribution to the evolution of the studio under the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). Named fifth of the seventeen painters listed in order of seniority in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of Akbar’s administration as it was c. 1590, Kesu Das was well established by the early 1580s and thus would have worked on the great Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82, alternatively dated 1562–77). In the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 46r...

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

[Dasavanta]

(fl c. 1560; d 1584).

Indian miniature painter. His name indicates that he was a Hindu. According to Abu’l-Fazl, writing in the Ā’īn-i Akbarī, the annals of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), Daswanth was the son of a palanquin-bearer (kahār) who worked in the royal workship. He was a favourite artist of the emperor Akbar, who discovered his talent and sent him to the master painter ‛Abd al-Samad for training, and in ‘a short time he surpassed all painters and became the first master of the age’ (Eng. trans., p. 114). He is known mainly for his highly imaginative and original compositions, where the irrational tends to dominate the realistic. Contemporary writers described him as a madman, and Abu’l-Fazl acknowledged that some critics preferred the more naturalistic work of the painter Basawan.

Daswanth’s earliest known works are illustrations of the Ṭū ṭīnāma (‘Tales of a parrot’; c. 1556–61, other scholars prefer ...

Article

Dhannu  

Philippa Vaughan

[Dhanu]

(fl c. 1580–c. 1600).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was established in the studio of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605) by the early 1580s and thus would have worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82; alternatively dated 1562–77). His five compositions in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fols 38r, 41r, 41v, 75r and 104v) are imaginative, with some attempt at naturalism in drawing and palette. His single contribution to the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850, fol. 12) was as the colourist of a design by Basawan, although in the Tīmūrnāma (‘History of Timur’; 1584; Bankipur, Patna, Khuda Bakhsh Lib., 269) he was the sole artist of two illustrations (fols 178v and 269r) and worked as a colourist on designs by Basawan (fol. 53...

Article

Philippa Vaughan

[Khem; Kemkaran]

(fl c. 1580–c. 1605).

Indian miniature painter. A Hindu, he was 13th of the 17 artists listed in the Āyin-i Akbarī, a contemporary account of the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605) as it was c. 1590. As he was established by the 1580s, probably having worked on the Hamzanāma (‘Tales of Hamza’; c. 1567–82; alternatively dated 1562–77), his fine composition in the Dārābnāma (‘Story of Darab’; c. 1580–85; London, BL, Or. 4615, fol. 89v) qualified him to work in several capacities on the Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1582–6; Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Mus., MS. AG. 1683–1850): as sole artist (fols 27, 53 and 107), as designer (fol. 28) and as colourist (fols 78 and 165). Perhaps he was a poor teacher, or a slow worker, for in the other manuscripts produced by teams of artists his few illustrations were sole compositions: Tīmūrnāma (1584...