A FALCON ON A PERCH, INDIA, DECCAN, POSSIBLY BIJAPUR, MID-17TH CENTURY
gouache heightened with gold on paper, the reverse with 6 lines of nasta’liq in black ink against marbled paper
painting: 12.2 by 8.8cm.
leaf: 20.2 by 17cm.
Minor losses to the painting, some smudges and minor rubbing, the reverse cropped, as viewed.
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With Francesca Galloway, 2018
Francesca Galloway, Persian & Indian Paintings, 2018
Francesca Galloway, Indian Miniatures and Courtly Objects, 2012
This painting of a falcon, a favourite subject for noble patrons of artists in the Mughal Empire, is unusual in that it is Deccani, where such birds are more rarely represented. The way the falcon is presented is imperious, due to its sharp green beak, golden eye and well-defined talons. It is silhouetted against a brilliant yellow ground, in the characteristic Deccani manner.
The finest bird studies in Mughal paintings were those commissioned by Emperor Jahangir (r.1605-27) who was a passionate naturalist who maintained a large menagerie and aviary. He had an atelier of painters who would paint outstanding and unusual specimens. Two falcons ascribed to the artist Mansur are in the Man Singh Museum, Jaipur, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. For other comparables see Colnaghi 1976, nos.101 and 1978, no.27.