Painting

The ^War Elephants Citranand and Udiya Collide in Battle

ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made)

Kesav

Height: 32 cm, Width: 19 cm

IS.2:115-1896 SSEA

Painting, Akbarnama, war elephants Citranand and Udiya collide in battle, possibly by Kesav and/or Chetar Muni, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1586-1589

Left half of a double page.The right side of the opening is 63/117. Depicts war elephants colliding in battle. The mast elephant Citranand is attacking the rebel elephant Udiya during the capture of Bahadur Khan in 1567. At the bottom, the picture is overlaid with a caption of text, extending from the right hand margin. A band of text also overlays the top half of the image, extending from the right hand margin.

This painting from the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) is the left half of a double-page composition. The other side is Museum no. IS.2: 63-1896. It depicts the elephant Citranand attacking another, called Udiya, during the Mughal campaign against the rebel forces of Khan Zaman and Bahadur Khan in 1567. The Akbarnama was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written in Persian by his court historian and biographer, Abu’l Fazl, between 1590 and 1596, and the V&A’s partial copy of the manuscript is thought to have been illustrated between about 1592 and 1595. This is thought to be the earliest illustrated version of the text, and drew upon the expertise of some of the best royal artists of the time. Many of these are listed by Abu’l Fazl in the third volume of the text, the A’in-i Akbari, and some of these names appear in the V&A illustrations, written in red ink beneath the pictures, showing that this was a royal copy made for Akbar himself. After his death, the manuscript remained in the library of his son Jahangir, from whom it was inherited by Shah Jahan. The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh between 1858 and 1862.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by the emperor Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written by his court historian and biographer Abu'l Fazl between 1590 and 1596 and is thought to have been illustrated between c. 1592 and 1594 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio. After Akbar's death in 1605, the manuscript remained in the library of his son, Jahangir (r. 1605-27) and later Shah Jahan (r. 1628-58). The Victoria and Albert Museum purchased it in 1896 from the widow of Major General Clarke, an official who had been the Commissioner in Oudh province between 1858 and 1862. Historical significance: It is thought to be the first illustrated copy of the Akbarnama. It drew upon the expertise of some of the best royal painters of the time, many of whom receive special mention by Abu'l Fazl in the A'in-i-Akbari. The inscriptions in red ink on the bottom of the paintings name the artists.

Location: In Storage

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