Jahângîr’s Album

Jahângîr’s Album, Collection Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Jahângîr’s Album, Collection Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Jahângîr’s Album, Collection Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Jahângîr’s Album was assembled under the patronage of the fourth Mughal emperor Nūr-ud-dīn Muhammad Salīm (1569–1627), known as Jahângîr. He continued to sustain syncretism among diverse faiths, aesthetic techniques, and iconography from Persian, Rajput Hindu, Deccan, and Christian traditions. Like his father, emperor Akbar, Jahângîr encouraged a public culture of debate between the Jesuit missionaries and Muslim theologians. Under their reigns, miniature painting and book art at the Mughal court were richly influenced by Christian icons and Renaissance humanism through sources such as the Royal polyglot Bible (gifted to Akbar in 1580) and allegorical prints by European artists, among them Maerten van Heemskerck, Albert Dürer, and Georg Pencz, that were presented to the rulers and became part of the royal library (Kitab-Khana). Foreign diplomats such as Sir Thomas Roe led evening audiences with emperor Jahangir to discuss art and commissioned works of the royal atelier.

This album (Murraqa in Persian), ascribed to the period between 1608–1618, draws together illuminated calligraphy folios, naturalist studies of flowering plants, birds, and animals, as well episodes of courtly life and royal portraiture.

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