88
88
A warrior brandishing a sword, attributable to Dasavanta, India, Mughal, circa 1570-75
Estimate
4,0006,000
JUMP TO LOT
88
A warrior brandishing a sword, attributable to Dasavanta, India, Mughal, circa 1570-75
Estimate
4,0006,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World

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A warrior brandishing a sword, attributable to Dasavanta, India, Mughal, circa 1570-75
gouache heightened with gold on paper, laid down on an album page with inner borders of red and blue decorated with scrolling leafy flowers in gold
painting: 19.7 by 13.8cm.
leaf: 27.9 by 21.8cm.
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Exhibited

Ex-collection Sven Gahlin (1934-2017), London.
Sold in these rooms, 2 May 1977, lot 97.
Previously with Hagop Kevorkian, New York (1872-1962).

Catalogue Note

This monumental figure of a warrior (the figure itself, from foot to tip of sword measures 17cm.) brandishing a sword and shield is of the type associated with the large-scale figures of the Hamzanama, the epic series of illustrations on cotton that occupied Emperor Akbar's atelier from circa 1560 to circa 1575. Not only is the scale akin, but the baggy pantaloons, accoutrements, sword, shield, facial type and combat pose are all of a style encountered in Hamzanama illustrations (see, for example, Seyller 2002, nos.27, 29, 65, 79, 82). The present work, however, is painted on paper and therefore cannot originate from the Hamzanama itself, which is painted on cotton cloth. The style is close to several of the earliest artists active in Akbar's atelier, the closest perhaps being Dasavanta (Daswanth), whose promising career was cut short by suicide in 1584. A figure of a warrior brandishing a sword, similar in almost every way to the present figure, including the particular type of sword but save for the scale, can be found in an illustration by Dasavanta in the Jaipur Razmnama (see Das 1998, p.58, fig.5, lower right).

Abu'l Fazl placed the artist Dasavanta third in importance after Mir Sayyid 'Ali and 'Abd al-Samad in his listing of the eminent artists of the royal atelier:

"Then there was Daswant, the son of a palanquin-bearer (kahar), who was in the service of this workshop and, urged by a natural desire, used to draw images and designs on walls. One day the far-reaching glance of His Majesty fell on those things and, in its penetrating manner, discerned the spirit of a master working in them. Consequently, His Majesty entrusted him to the Khwaja. In just a short time he became matchless in his time and the most excellent (sar-amad-i ruzgar), but the darkness of insanity enshrouded the brilliance of his mind and he died, a suicide. He has left several masterpieces." (Revised translation of the A'in-i Akbari by Prof. C.M. Naim, text, I, pp.116-8, quoted in Das et al 1998, p.53).

Dasavanta worked on the Cleveland Tutinama, the Hamzanama, the Tarikh-i Khandan-i Timuriyya in the Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna, the Jaipur Razmnama and possibly the 1570 Anwar-i Suhayli (SOAS Library, London). For discussions of his life and work see Das 1998, pp.52-67 and Seyller 2002, p.48, fig.17, pp.51-52. See also, Beach 1982, pp.121-133.

Arts of the Islamic World

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London