Folio from a "Razmnama" Manuscript
In India, a genre of art called “miniature painting” made use of elaborate brushwork and vibrant colors to depict a variety of themes including: Indian myths; Hindu gods, such as Shiva and Vishnu; portraits of kings; scenes from history; and love stories. Additionally, India’s rich cultural diversity led to the development of distinct regional styles of miniature painting.
The Razmnama is the Persian translation of the Indian epic poem the Mahabharata. In Persian, the translated title means “war story.” Akbar, the third emperor of the Mughal Empire, had the Mahabharata translated into Persian in 1574 as part of an attempt to create a syncretic religion that blended elements of Islam and Hinduism. The translated manuscript was handwritten and included beautiful illustrations.
The first manuscript for the Razmnama was completed between 1584 and 1586, and the second manuscript was completed between 1598 and 1599. These dates are not far from when this painting was created, making it a precious work of art based on these early illustrations.