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RECEIVING THE NEWS OF THE BIRTH OF SALIM. Victoria and Albert Museum.
RECEIVING THE NEWS OF THE BIRTH OF SALIM


An illustration to the Ahbar-nama, the celebrated history of the life and career of Akbar, by Abu'1-Fazl. The painting, executed probably not k-long after the year 1602, when the work was completed, is a typical example of the later manner of the Emperor's Court artists. The birth scene of the son and heir—afterwards the Emperor Jahangir - on August 31st, 1569, forms the subject of the upper compartment into which the picture is divided, the other two being filled with musicians and servants, with the surging excited crowd outside. Beyond is a rocky landscape.
The painting is a good example of the bustling movement and stress which Akbar's painters often introduced into their work. Among other points of interest in the composition should be noticed the point of view, which is as regards the upper portion the typical 'bird's-eye' view, while for the lower panel the artist is on a level with the scene depicted. This is the 'principle of greatest visibility'. The strong colour contrasts, and the marked European influence, especially in the scenery and the drapery, are especially evident in this painting.
The miniature exemplifies the custom according to which two or more painters often worked in collaboration, for it bears an inscription 'Outline by Kesu the Elder, painting by Chatar'. Kesu is one of the names included in the list of the leading artists of Akbar's reign in the A'in-i Akbarl, the account of Akbar's institutions by Abu'1-Fazl. Both are Hindu names.