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Gautama is Relieved to Find That His Son Chirakarin Has Not Carried Out His Impulsive Order to Execute Ahalya, Leaf from a Razmnama Manuscript

Mohan (Son of Banwari)

Asian Art

This painting is an illustration from the Persian translation of the great Hindu epic known as the Mahabharata (Razm-nama in Persian). The Mughal emperors who ruled northern India from the mid-sixteenth to the nineteenth century were Muslims, originally from Central Asia. One of the early emperors, Akbar, had the major texts of Hinduism translated into Persian so he could better understand their stories and teachings. The relatively simple composition and lack of minute detail suggest that this painting was made not for the emperor, but for one of his courtiers. It depicts an episode in which an impulsive man orders his son to kill his wife (the son’s mother). The father returns home, and the son begs his forgiveness (touching his feet in humility in the painting), because he has not carried out the command. The painting is in the hybrid Persian-Indian style practiced at the Mughal court.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Place Made: India
  • DATES 1598–1599
    DYNASTY Mughal
    DIMENSIONS Sheet:12 x 6 13/16 in. (30.5 x 17.3 cm) Image: 10 x 5 1/4in. (25.4 x 13.3cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS "314" at top of page; text at lower left [in Persian, in naskhi script] reads: "Gautama rishi arrives at his own house and Cirakarin his son falls at his feet and lets the sword pass from his hands to the ground. His father had given [him] the order to kill his own mother [but] he showed compassion upon Cirakarin's delay in slaying his mother (translated from the Persian by John Seyller). in center of lower border, in Persian, in naskhi script: Mohan, son of Banwari. (Trans. J. Seyller)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Danielle and Richard A. Bertocci
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Mohan (Son of Banwari). Gautama is Relieved to Find That His Son Chirakarin Has Not Carried Out His Impulsive Order to Execute Ahalya, Leaf from a Razmnama Manuscript, 1598–1599. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Sheet:12 x 6 13/16 in. (30.5 x 17.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Danielle and Richard A. Bertocci, 86.253 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.253_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 86.253_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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