Sunday, December 04, 2011

Razmnama : Mahabharata's Persian translation by Akbar

Dear reader,

Recently I came across the word "Razmnama" which, on further investigation I learnt, was the Persian name given to the translation of the epic Mahabharata that had been started initially by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. On further looking around I found a lot of evidence indicating the existence of such an illustrated book. The comprehensive collection of these, now scattered and almost extinct, illustrations is titled 'Razmnama : The book of war' -

Given below are a few fine examples of these paintings that had been created at the behest of Akbar during their translation to Persian at the time of his reign. The pieces have the unmistakable influence of Mughal art and also carry writings in Persian. I shall add more of these illustrations here as and when I find them. 

You may click on them for larger versions.

The disrobing of Draupadi

Krsna talks to Yudhishitira

Death of Bheeshma

Arjna's son Babruvahana fights the Nagas

Karna kills Bhma's son Gatotkacha

Krsna with the Pandavas

Krsna declares end of war by blowing on conch

Kunti leads Dritarashtra & Gandhari to the forest

Arjna and Krsna in battle

Scholars discuss in a court about the translations
Yudhistra with Bheeshma 1
Arjna shoots Bhshma
Yudhistra and brothers ask Bhsma permission to fight

Karna slays Kaikeya prince Visoka
Vanaras help Rama build a bridge

Churning of the ocean - Manthan
Prince Chandrahasa with a Goddess
Draupadi with companions on a terrace
Arjuna is killed by his son Babruvahana
Garuda carries the elephant & the turtle

Ydishtira with Bheeshma 2

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