eye burfi

South Asian / Indian Art, Illustration, Graphic Design & Typography. Formerly at eyeburfi.tumblr.com. Twitter: @eyeburfi.

 
Disaster at Sea
By a provincial Mughal artist, India, late 17th century
Opaque watercolour and gold, in a Qajar period blue album page with gul and bulbul decoration.
This highly interesting page, at once spirited and stylised, is the product of an unknown Indian manuscript atelier fusing Indian and Persian styles, possibly in Kashmir. Its subject seems unique. A sea-monster similar to a crocodile has opened its jaws and is swallowing a ship, whose crew either jump into the sea and fight back with their weapons or else are chewed and swallowed alive. Indian tales are full of sea-voyages where the hero has to undergo trial by shipwreck, such as the story of Kamrup told in the Dastur-i Himmat.
A splendid page from Akbar’s great Hamzanama seems relevant, in which Hamza and his companions, on their way to the kingdom of Ahras by sea, have to fend off an attack by a giant leviathan of the deep. Hamza there has let fly an arrow into the eye of the monster, while Umar wields an axe and a sling: the bow and the axe are echoed in our paintings, as is the arrow piercing the monster’s eye. Both monsters are based on the Gangetic crocodile or ghariyal.
Provincial Indian manuscripts of Persian texts often retain an archaic fondness for Persian costumes and somewhat outmoded styles, as can be seen for instance in the Kashmiri school of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is a strong possibility that this page is also Kashmiri, and it retains some of the idioms seen in the work of Muhammad Nadir al-Samarqandi done in Kashmir, such as his mid-seventeenth century Yusuf u Zulaykha.
Image & Text Source: Oliver Forge Brendan Lynch

 

Disaster at Sea

By a provincial Mughal artist, India, late 17th century

Opaque watercolour and gold, in a Qajar period blue album page with gul and bulbul decoration.

This highly interesting page, at once spirited and stylised, is the product of an unknown Indian manuscript atelier fusing Indian and Persian styles, possibly in Kashmir. Its subject seems unique. A sea-monster similar to a crocodile has opened its jaws and is swallowing a ship, whose crew either jump into the sea and fight back with their weapons or else are chewed and swallowed alive. Indian tales are full of sea-voyages where the hero has to undergo trial by shipwreck, such as the story of Kamrup told in the Dastur-i Himmat.

A splendid page from Akbar’s great Hamzanama seems relevant, in which Hamza and his companions, on their way to the kingdom of Ahras by sea, have to fend off an attack by a giant leviathan of the deep. Hamza there has let fly an arrow into the eye of the monster, while Umar wields an axe and a sling: the bow and the axe are echoed in our paintings, as is the arrow piercing the monster’s eye. Both monsters are based on the Gangetic crocodile or ghariyal.

Provincial Indian manuscripts of Persian texts often retain an archaic fondness for Persian costumes and somewhat outmoded styles, as can be seen for instance in the Kashmiri school of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is a strong possibility that this page is also Kashmiri, and it retains some of the idioms seen in the work of Muhammad Nadir al-Samarqandi done in Kashmir, such as his mid-seventeenth century Yusuf u Zulaykha.

Image & Text Source: Oliver Forge Brendan Lynch

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