start page
BEARS AND MONKEY from a manuscript of a fable book. School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Akbar delighted in having fables read to him, and in the several fable books of his time which have survived, the artists found a theme congenial to their talents. In this early example (the manuscript bears a date corresponding to a.d. 1570) the black bears, common in Kashmir, are depicted with considerable realism and in a variety of life-like and expressive attitudes. Animal art was to make great progress in the next fifty years, but these early animal studies have a peculiar charm and freedom. The miniature, in spite of the Persian rocks, the Western suggestions in the trees and cloudy sky, and the traces of indigenous convention in the manner of depicting water, is essentially Mughal in character.