Birds from the Dara Shikoh Album Boxed Notecards
Twenty assorted 5 x 7 in. blank notecards (5 each of 4 designs) with envelopes in a decorative box.
Published with The British Library.
A Moghul masterpiece in the collection of the British Library, the Dara Shikoh album is a manuscript collection of paintings and calligraphy assembled during the 1630s by Dara Shikoh (1615–1659), the eldest son of the Emperor Shah Jahan (1628–1658, the builder of the Taj Mahal), and presented to his wife Nadira Banu Begum in 1641 or 1642.
Following the typical Moghul album format, the facing pages alternate in pairs: two pages of paintings, then two of calligraphy. Each artwork is mounted within a gold-painted border, and the entire album is bound in tooled and gilded covers. It is one of the few Moghul albums to have survived almost intact.
Dara Shikoh was executed in 1659 by his younger brother Aurangzib, who had emerged victorious in the wars waged between Shah Jahan’s four sons. After Nadira Banu’s death, the album was taken into the royal library and the inscriptions connecting it with Dara Shikoh were deliberately, but fortunately not completely, erased. One painting in the album is signed and dated by the artist Muhammad Khan AH 1043 (AD 1633 or 1634).
Contains five each of the following notecards:
A pair of pheasants in a landscape, Dara Shikoh album, f.71v, 1630–1640
A night heron, Dara Shikoh album, f.9v, 1630–1640
A drake beside a pool, Dara Shikoh album, f.10, 1630–1640
Two pigeons beside a dovecote, Dara Shikoh album, f.31v, 1630–1640