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Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Page: 19.9 x 14.2 cm (7 13/16 x 5 9/16 in.); Painting: 12.9 x 10.5 cm (5 1/16 x 4 1/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.8.a
Merchant ships brave treacherous waters; a distant city appears in the upper left.
This first painting from Akbar’s Tuti-nama depicts a scene from the book’s frame story. Using a narrative device common in pre-Mughal India, the painting shows three different moments of time: Maymun sailing away on a merchant ship; his wife, Khujasta, on the roof of her house gesturing to, as the story tells us, a prince on the street below, with whom she falls in love; and Khujasta in the courtyard of her home having dashed the pet mynah bird to the floor in anger.
An exceptionally important manuscript, the Tuti-nama was painted by Indian artists, many of whom were learning to work in a Persian book format for the first time. Stylistic features of pre-Mughal Indian painting appear throughout the manuscript, such as the flat red floor and the white-on-black horizontal parapet.
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