Paintings of the Razmnama Mapin Publishing

Paintings of the Razmnama

The Book of War
Ashok Kumar Das
Introduction by Stuart Cary Welch

Razmnama or The Book of War is the Persian translation of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

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Razmnama or The Book of War is the Persian translation of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar took a personal interest in the translation project and invited learned men, well-versed with the work, from all over the country to help some of his best Persian scholar-courtiers prepare the most authentic text possible. Once this was complete, master painters at his atelier produced a lavishly illustrated copy for his personal use. Akbar then invited his nobles to get copies of the text made for themselves. Out of the three copies made, the three-volume Razmnama in the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata, is the only one complete with 81 miniatures. Most of these images are full-page ones and the text bears the name of the scribe and date of completion-1605. The paintings are of great interest to students of Mughal painting as they combine the finest elements of the Mughal court style with the narrative style of storytelling. Some of the most popular Mahabharata stories were chosen by the painters and instead of composing two or three separate paintings they incorporated different stages of narrative detail within the frame of a single image. The overall style is refined and clearly follows the court style during the closing years of Akbar's reign. The 1605 Razmnama is a key document for the study of Mughal painting during the beginning of the 17th century.

Asok Kumar Das is visiting Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is former Director of the Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur and has also taught at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, as Satyajit Ray Chair. He has published extensively on different aspects of Mughal art and culture and recently edited the volume Mughal Masters: Further Studies.

• Introduction
• The Making of Razmnama
• Imaging the Razmnama: The Razmnama Manuscript for Akbar and Other Copies
• The Birla Razmnama
• Catalouge of Iuustrations
ISBN 9788188204502
Pages 192
Number of illustrations 174 colour illustrations
Size 8.5 x 11.75" (216 x 298 mm), hc
Date of Publishing 2005
Language(s) English
Co-publisher(s) Mapin
Rights Available World rights
If they were revered sacred texts, they were also the equivalent of our comic book and
animated films.
—from the Introduction

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