Emperor Babur with Attendants in a Garden

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Babur, ca. 1590
Movement
Mughal Court
School
Mughal School
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 19.1 x 12.2 cm (7 1/2 x 4 13/16 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1954.27
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
attendant, emperor, garden, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

The central figure in this composition has been identified as Babur, the second Mughal emperor (reigned 1526-30). An avid naturalist, Babur commissioned numerous gardens outside fortresses and citadels to symbolize his claim over his newly conquered domain. In this drawing, the rocky mountains of the background suggest a relatively untamed setting for the garden, which is dominated by a canopied platform. Placed at the intersection of a small pool and four water channels, the structure serves much like a throne, the definitive emblem of royal power and sovereignty.

Published References
  • The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal. Washington, 2000. p. 42.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 61, pp. 102-103.
  • Elizabeth B. Moynihan. Paradise as a Garden: Persia and Mughal India. World Landscape Art and Architecture Series New York. p. 108.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Emperors, Peris, and Demons in Near Eastern Art. Washington, November 1978. p. 148.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 26, p. 154, fig. 43.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 26, pp. 198-199.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.