Firman of the Emperor Akbar

Eight lines of calligraphy within central space. On the proper left side is a border, 6.5-8 cm wide, of arabesques and flowers. A narrower border with a geometric pattern is on the bottom edge and part of the proper right side.On the top border (30 cm high) is a painting of a temple, Emperor Akbar’s name, title, and seals. The top border and the callgraphy are on the same sheet of paper; the side and borders are pasted on.

The seal of the Emperor Akbar (with a central circle bearing his name and eight smaller circles inscribed with the name of Akbar’s Timurid ancestors) appears in the space to the right of the temple depicted in the farman. The emperor’s name and title are also written on the empty panel that occupies the position where the temple’s interior image would otherwise appear. The wide border along the right side of the farman is decorated with a continuously scrolling floral arabesque, of great richness. While the much narrower borders (partially missing) on the other two sides are decorated with a simple repeat design.

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, 1604
School
Mughal School
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 87.6 x 40.6 cm (34 1/2 x 16 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries in honor of Milo C. Beach
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2001.12
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Calligraphy, Document
Type

Firman

Keywords
emperor, flower, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

A.C. Ardeshir, Bombay, India and Windsor, England [1]

Family of A.C. Ardeshir, by descent [2]

To 2001
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York City, to 2001

From 2001
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in 2001

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 3, Terence McInerney, June 2001, in the object record. Also, this object, as with most objects in the Ardeshir collection, was sent to England prior to the outbreak of World War I (according to Curatorial Note 3, Terence McInerney, June 2001, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
A. C. Ardeshir

Description

Eight lines of calligraphy within central space. On the proper left side is a border, 6.5-8 cm wide, of arabesques and flowers. A narrower border with a geometric pattern is on the bottom edge and part of the proper right side.On the top border (30 cm high) is a painting of a temple, Emperor Akbar's name, title, and seals. The top border and the callgraphy are on the same sheet of paper; the side and borders are pasted on.

The seal of the Emperor Akbar (with a central circle bearing his name and eight smaller circles inscribed with the name of Akbar's Timurid ancestors) appears in the space to the right of the temple depicted in the farman. The emperor's name and title are also written on the empty panel that occupies the position where the temple's interior image would otherwise appear. The wide border along the right side of the farman is decorated with a continuously scrolling floral arabesque, of great richness. While the much narrower borders (partially missing) on the other two sides are decorated with a simple repeat design.

Inscription(s)

See the description field.

Published References
  • Iqbal Husain. Akbar's Farmans - A Study in Diplomatic. .
  • Irfan Habib. Three Early Farmans of Akbar, in Favour of Ramadas, the Master Dyer. .
  • Michael Brand, Glenn D. Lowry. Akbar's India: Art from the Mughal City of Victory. Exh. cat. New York. cat. 80, pp. 120, 156.
  • Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri. Akbar and His India. p. 266.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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