PAINTING OF THE DECCAN
In 1591 Akbar had despatched missions to the Deccan courts. Khandesh acknowledged Mughal suzerainty, and Bijapur and Golconda wisely sent a form of tribute. Burhan's paltry gift was interpreted as an insult, and Akbar decided on war. By 1601 Ahmadnagar, the capital, had fallen, and the northern territory together with Berar and Khandesh was formed into three additional provinces of the Mughal Empire. The kingdom however was to survive until 1633. This was due not merely to the indecision of Akbar's successor Jahangir, but to the energy and statesmanship of the famous Abyssinian Peshwa, Malik Ambar, who established a new capital at Khirki, near the impregnable fort of Daulatabad. With the help of his Maratba auxiliaries he maintained his territory intact until his death in 1626 at the age of eighty. In 1633 however Daulatabad was finally taken by Shab Jahan. This was the end of the Nizam Shah dynasty, and the Mughal Empire now extended to the northern frontiers of Bijapur and Golconda. During this period the new style, as represented by the portrait of Burhan II, continued to develop in Ahmadnagar. No doubt Murtaza II (1602—30) in his capital Khirki or the mountain fortress of Daulatabad pursued the careless activities of his line, unmoved by the bustle of his protector and minister Malik Ambar. The languor of the still summer afternoons spent in his garden on the high Deccan is beautifully conveyed by the well-known 'Siesta' in Berlin (Plate 6). Here the clear and brilliant palette of the Burhan portrait is set against a sombre green, relieved by little touches of white and yellow. The great curve of the composition from the kneeling attendant through the sleeping prince and plane tree to the embowered castle is controlled by the strong diagonals of the red sword-case and the white scarf held by the standing figure. Unfortunately, but two pictures remain which can be attributed to Ahmadnagar - distinguished portraits of Abyssinian dignitaries, one of whom is the great Peshwa himself leaning on his long Deccan sword.
In the struggle with the Mughal Empire the two southern kingdoms had taken little part. They supported Malik Ambar with cash subsidies, while hastening to make their peace with the Empire when it seemed politic. Of the Deccan kingdoms, Golconda had probably gained the most from the defeat of Vijayanagar. Ibrahim Qutb Shah (1550-80) had extended his territory to the south and east, regaining the sea-coast and the lucrative textile trade with Persia and Indonesia. In 1580 he was succeeded by his son Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. During his long reign, which lasted until 1611, Golconda was at the height of its prosperity. Muhammad Quli occupied his time with art and poetry and the embellishment of his capital. He also founded Hyderabad, and gave it its best known monument, the Char Minar. It was now, in 1605, that the Dutch arrived off Masulipatam, the chief port, soon to be followed by the first English venture. To the reign of Muhammad Quli may perhaps be attributed a miniature in the Chester Beatty Library. Its close similarity to the 'Siesta' is immediately apparent. Both share the background of romantic crag and castle drawn from late Akbar painting, though ultimately of European origin. The palette is also similar, though in the Chester Beatty picture unusually sumptuous. Obviously intermarriage of the royal families and exchange of artists had made the Ahmadnagar style common property in the Deccan. Muhammad Quli was succeeded by his nephew Muhammad (1611-26). Here we are on surer ground since we possess an impressive portrait of the young king soon after his accession. A brilliant black replaces the gold as foil to the Deccan palette. The patterned and flowered ground is familiar from the Nujum al-Ulum and the first set of raga pictures.

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