Alamshah cleaving asunder the chain of the wheel, from volume 11 of a Hamza-nama (Adventures of Hamza)

Wielding a curved sword, and with a stabbing dagger tucked into his belt, the hero Alamshah perches on a cliff above a rushing torrent of water. The villain who raised the massive bronze plug on the dam in order to wash away the hero’s camp has just been slain, his body tumbling backward. This page came from a 14-volume book commissioned by Emperor Akbar. Astonishing in size and scale, the paintings reveal Akbar’s preference for dramatic action. The distinctive, recognizable Mughal painting style was fully developed over the 15 years it took to produce the Hamza-nama. Shading, volume, animated gestures, and vibrant color are some of the main characteristics that distinguish Mughal paintings from earlier works made in India and Iran.

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on cotton and paper


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Cleveland Museum of Art

Date :

1560s – 1570s

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