Author: Daljeet Shah
Rajeshwari Shah/Shri R K Dutta Gupta
Photographer: Shri R K Dutta Gupta
Publisher: National Museum
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Baburnama are the memoirs of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur Padshah Gazi the first Padshah of Hindustan. The Baburnama is a unique biography of the life and times of a prince who traveled from Central Asia to conquer Hindustan. None before this or after have been so captivating and spell binding. Babur describes in detail the political, social and religious life of the people that he encountered in and around the battle areas and gives a vivid description of medieval society in the 15th -16th century. Babur wrote his memoirs in Chaghatai Turkish, the language not in prevalence in his court but used by the Timurids. Though he spent a considerable period of his life on horseback, with a sword in his hand, he managed to steel some time from the battlefield, exchanging the sword for a pen to record his eventful journey through life.
The paintings of the Baburnama of the National Museum manuscript were made at the end of the 16th century and are considered to be from the mature phase of Akbar period paintings when Mughal art was still under the influence of Persian art but was creating a new niche for itself. In most of the paintings of the Baburnama the face of Babur is shown in three quarter profile and he occupies the central position. Babur is always shown as a stately regal figure.
Great attention has been paid to nature studies; elephants, camels, blackbucks, peacocks and many more birds have been naturalistically rendered. Landscape usually rises upwards on a vertical plane. All the paintings follow a vertical format with an aerial view using techniques of three dimensionality. The use of small villages in the landscape shows the influence of European art and the buildings reflect the architecture of Fatehpur Sikri. Judicious space has been assigned to the calligraphic text. Influenced by the Persian style the paintings of the Baburnama incorporated indigenous elements and created a new platform for the future Mughal painters.
1. Babur fallen from his horse during a race with Qasim Beg and Qamar Ali
2. Bird catching on the banks of river Baran near Kabul Artist: Bhag
3. Babur celebrating the birth of his son Humayunnin a Char-Bagh at Kabul
4. Bubur and his army crossing the river Indus Artist: Gobind
5. Humayun with his army marching against Hamid Khan Lodhi near Ambala
6. Black Buck with Does
7. Floricans, sand grouses, saras cranes and ducks Artist: Bandi
8. Babur in the battle of Khanua fighting with the army of Rana Sanga of Mewar
9. Babur feasting in the company of Qizibash, Uzbek and Hindu envoys
10. Babur witnessing elephant, ram and camel fights and wrestling bouts