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Dhannu [Dhanu]locked

(fl c. 1580–c. 1600).
  • Philippa Vaughan

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. 53v) and Lal (fol. 87r). He also worked on Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’, Yazd, 1502–1506; miniatures c. 1585; Pontresina, Keir Col., fols 218v and 214r) as designer/painter and also as designer, although not on any other literary manuscripts with the exception of one folio in the ‛Iyar-i Danish (‘Book of fables’; c. 1590–95; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., Ind. MS. 4, fol. 89). His finest work is Babur Laying out the Garden of Bagh-i-vafa in Adinapur in the second Bāburnāma (‘History of Babur’; c. 1591; London, BL, Or. 3714, fols 173v, 386r, 389v and 393v). This illustrates his facility for natural history subjects and his rich, controlled palette, a striking contrast to the pale tones used to colour designs by Lal, Basawan and Miskin in the Jāmi‛ al-tawārīkh (‘History of the world’, known as Chinghiznāma; 1596; Tehran, Gulistan Pal. Lib., fols 57v, 263v, 266r and, as sole artist, fol. 288v). His late work consists of eight folios in the imperial Razmnāma (‘Book of wars’; 1598; London, BL, Or. 12076, fols 87v, 110v and dispersed), the fourth Bāburnāma (1598; New Delhi, N. Mus., MS. 50.326) and the later Akbarnāma (‘History of Akbar’; begun c. 1597; alternatively dated c. 1602–5; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., Ind. MS. 3).


  • H. Suleiman: Miniatures of Babur-nama (Tashkent, 1970)
  • The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court (exh. cat. by M. C. Beach; Washington, DC, Freer, 1981)
  • L. Y. Leach: Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library (Dublin, 1995), pp. 76, 104