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Minissale, G. (2001) Painting awareness : A study into the use of exotic cultural traditions by the artists of the Emperor Akbar's Khamsa of Nizami. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The main objective of this doctoral research is to analyse a group of miniature paintings produced between 1593 and 1595 for the Mughal Indian Emperor Akbar, who reigned from 1556 to 1605. These miniatures are illustrations in a manuscript of five epic poems (known as the Khamsa) by the Persian poet NiZami (1141-1209). This manuscript is now in the British Library (Or. 12, 208). It is the argument of this thesis that more than any other Mughal illustrated manuscript, the painting in the Khamsa exemplifies a refined synthesis of the artistic traditions of three major cultures with which the Mughals came into contact: the European, Persian and earlier Indian. Many elements in the illustrations may be traced back to these origins. The miniatures represent the finest of Akbar period painting. This is true in terms of finish and technique but the paintings of the Khamsa of NiZami are also important because they mark the use of a new visual language in painting to convey complex thoughts and ideas. Knowledge of other artistic traditions led the Mughals to adjust their own painting. The thesis demonstrates that the paintings of the Khamsa of NiZami are an extraordinary record of the elevated status of the art of painting at the Mughal court.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58

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