Hyderabad (the Deccan), India
ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Deccani Urdu text with written in a script verging on naskh; maximum of 11 lines to the page, arranged in two columns
39.5 x 23.4cm (folio); 37 x 21.2cm (paintings, within outer gold border)
The Gulshan-i ‘ishq (‘The Rose Garden of Love’), by the Sufi poet Nusrati, is an allegorical romance relating the progress of King Bikram towards enlightenment and the birth of a child to his hitherto barren queen. The paintings are of two types: those illustrating the narrative, which are bolder and larger in size (central section, both folios); and marginal vignettes, which are virtual microcosms of daily life at court, in the city and in the countryside.
The right-hand folio (MSS 640.1b) depicts the queen in her private apartments (top) and King Bikram offering food to the holy man, Roshan-i Dil. The main scene on the leftt-hand folio (MSS 640.2a) depicts King Bikram throwing himself abjectly on the ground before Roshan-i Dil.
L. York Leach, Paintings from India, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume VIII, London 1998, cat.73, pp.240–47. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.343, p.289.