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Sculpture from the Kushan Period
Sculpture from North India, 5th-7th Centuries
Jain sculpture
Sculpture of the Pala Period
Stone Sculpture from Hindu Temples
Sculptures from South India, 8th-9th Centuries
Bronze Sculpture of the Chola Period
Art for the Mughal and Rajput Courts
Hindu Temple Hangings
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
Sculpture from the Kushan Period
Two Bodhisattvas from Sri Lanka
Folio from a Ta'rikh-i Alfi Manuscript: Death of a Prisoner
India, Uttar Pradesh, Lahore area; Akbar period, about 1585
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
H. 16 in. (40.6 cm); W. 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The Ta'rikh-i Alfi (History of a Thousand Years) is one of the many works of history and literature commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) and illustrated at his court. A new history of the Islamic world, the manuscript was intended to encompass everything that had happened to Islam since the birth of the prophet Mohammed ca. 570 C.E. The long text on this page records events that occurred during the caliphate of al-Ma'mun, focusing on the struggles for political power that occurred between 815 and 816. It is possible that the scene in the center of the painting, which shows a barely clothed prisoner with shackled legs lying in a courtyard, alludes to a mention in the text of the stoning to death for insubordination of al-Ma'mun's opponent, Yahya b. Amir. The vignettes around the border of the painting may refer to the political unrest that plagued the period. Numerous male figures are shown talking agitatedly and meeting in doorways and gardens, suggesting intrigue and unrest.
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