start page
THE CHENAR TREE. India Office Library.

This picture, one of the loveliest in all Mughal art, is probably from the hand of one of Jahangir's leading painters. It approaches a pure landscape art, but landscape was not actually practised as a separate branch of painting. The Persian influence is strong, in the rocks, the gold sky, and the leaves and autumn tints of the plane tree, beloved of Persian artists. The animals in the meadow are also depicted in a convention close to the Persian manner, But the squirrels and the birds, frightened at the intruding climber, are Indian, drawn with uncommon penetration and sympathy. As a composition, and in its colour, the picture is one of the happiest ever achieved by these artists. Unfor¬tunately the painter's name, which was almost certainly inscribed in the space in the lower left-hand corner, has been erased. On the reverse side of the leaf, however, is an attribution to Abu'l-Hasan Nadir al-Zaman, a painter whose work Jahangir greatly admired, as he reveals in his Memoirs.