Panoramic View of Mecca

ink and opaque watercolour on paper

62.8 x 88cm

The view of Mecca is remarkable for its comprehensiveness and accuracy and, in the manner of contemporary topographers, brilliantly combines a plan of the city with a bird’s-eye view from about 60 degrees. Muhammad ‘Abdallah, whose grandfather, Mazar ‘Ali Khan was court painter to the Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah II, was commissioned by the Sharif of Mecca to depict the sacred monuments of his realm in the second quarter of the 19th century. It is the earliest known accurate eyewitness record of the city.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.298, pp.260–61.