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Mughal ruler Humayun defeating the Afghans before reconquering India, folio from an Akbar-nama (Book of Akbar) of Abu’l Fazl (Indian, 1551–1602)

Mughal ruler Humayun defeating the Afghans before reconquering India, folio from an Akbar-nama (Book of Akbar) of Abu’l Fazl (Indian, 1551–1602)

c. 1590

Mughal India, court of Akbar

(reigned 1556–1605)

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

Image: 31.2 x 18.6 cm (12 5/16 x 7 5/16 in.); Overall: 36.5 x 23.1 cm (14 3/8 x 9 1/8 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1971.77

Exhibition

Martial Art of India (Indian Painting rotation)

Did you know?

A well-trained war elephant can pull an opponent off his horse with its trunk.

Description

In a battle that took place in 1555, the second Mughal emperor, Humayun, reconquered northern India from the Afghans with the help of Iranian military forces. His mounted figure stands out from the fray, with his golden helmet and red tunic silhouetted against a hillside in the upper center of the composition. To illustrate the beginning of hisown biography, Humayun’s son Akbar included this image of his father riding victoriously back to India. The scene never actually occurred in this way, since Humayun did not participate in this particular battle; his inclusion here is symbolic.

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