Sa’id and Khosh Khiram arrive at a castle and see two girls wrestling on the roof from the Hamzanama

Artist: Attributed to Shravana Attributed to Mithra
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Akbar, ca. 1570
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on cotton cloth
H x W: 79 x 63.5 cm (31 1/8 x 25 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent


castle, Hamzanama, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), Reign of Akbar (1556 - 1605), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

The Persian Hamzanama, or Story of Hamza, consists of a series of wild and fantastic adventures centered upon the heroic Hamza. The Hamzanama was a favorite of the young Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1542-1605) who often had the stories read aloud to him. Painters at Akbar's court produced a monumental Hamzanama, which was reputed to have 1400 paintings. Two or more artists worked together on every painting.

The scintillating palace, a harmonious combination of pinkish planes, rhythmic dark openings and delicated floral bands, is attributed to Shravana, an artist known for dazzling architecture and precise patterns. In this luscious setting, the figures seem an afterthought; indeed this is literally true for there is visual evidence that at least part of the body of Said (the orange-clad male on the roof) was painted over the carpet border. The narrative, from volume 11 of the Hamzanama, tells of two girls who wrestle under the spell of a sorceress. The tussling girls are attributed to Mithra, who favors doll-like faces with doleful eyes.

For a related image from the Hamzanama see F1949.18.

Published References
  • Sam Fogg, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Francesca Galloway. Red Stone: Indian Stone Carving from Sultanate and Mughal India. p. 6.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 6D, p. 56.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 5a, pp. 59, 61.
  • John Seyller. The Adventures of Hamza: Painting and Storytelling in Mughal India. Washington. cat. 67, pp. 206, 305.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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