late 17th century
ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; folios edged and backed with yellow silk;
bound in lacquer-painted covers
copied in naskh, thulth and riqa‘ scripts
60 folios; 40.5 x 32cm
The calligraphic panels are arranged in matching pairs with identical illumination, mounted on double-page spreads splendidly decorated with patterns drawn from Mughal enamels or pietra dura work. The album bears a note to the effect that it is to calligraphy what the albums of Jahangir, the greatest connoisseur of the Mughal emperors, were to painting. The tastes of Awrangzeb (r 1658–1707), the first Mughal emperor of unimpeachable Muslim orthodoxy, favoured calligraphy rather than painting, and this magnificent presentation of the work of Indian scribes active in his reign gives a vivid impression of the restrained elegance of his court.
Originally bound as a concertina album in lacquer-painted covers, the album was reboundas a codex in Europe, sometime in the early 20th century.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.270, pp.234–5.