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A DRAWING OF A FALCON ON A PERCH

A DRAWING OF A FALCON ON A PERCH

Item Description:



Mughal, India, c. 1625

Ink, charcoal dust and pigment on parchment

Image 3 1/8 x 4 3/4 in. (8 x 12 cm.)
Folio 11 x 8 1/4 in. (27.8 x 21 cm.)

The A.C. Ardeshir Collection

For a similar work from the Welch Family Collection attributed to Mansur titled ‘Troubled Gyrfalcon’ see Asok Kumar Das, Wonders of Nature, Ustad Mansur at the Mughal Court, Mumbai, 2012, V.35, p. 109.
Two closely related animal study compositions with bold floral forms and stylised cloud forms from the Riza-i Abbasi Album, Safavid period, mid-17th century in the Freer Gallery of Art, see Esin Atil, The Brush of the Master: Drawings from Iran and India, Washington, 1978, pp. 92 - 93 nos. 57 and 58.

The memoirs of the Emperor Jahangir are replete with references to birds and animals, and drawings of flora and fauna became popular subjects for artists working within the imperial atelier at this period, and continued to be popular during the reign of Shah Jahan. A famous example of a gray falcon painted by the master artist Mansur, is in the British Museum collection (museum no. 1969,0317,0.2). A second painting titled ‘A Troubled Gyrfalcon’ in the Welch Family Collection is even closer to the current example (see Asok Kumar Das, Wonders of Nature, Ustad Mansur at the Mughal Court, Mumbai, 2012, V.35, p. 109). In both the Welch drawing and the current example the birds hold their leashes in their beak and are surrounded by flowering plants that are treated with minimal colouring in light washes. Furthermore, both works include the unusual addition of cloud motifs in the Persian style, which may suggest that the artist had access to a painting of the same subject by a court painter from Iran. Cary Welch suggested that the bird depicted in the work was the one sent by Shah ‘Abbas and mauled by a cat and painted by Mansur on Jahangir’s orders. If that was indeed the case, then it would be tempting to suggest that Mansur produced two versions of the same drawing and that this is the second version. However Asok Kumar Das questions whether this attribution is correct so the identity of the artist who worked on the current page remains a question for debate.

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A DRAWING OF A FALCON ON A PERCH

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