The Bahmani kingdom with its capital at Gulbarga (Kalaburagi, Karnataka) was founded in 1347, but later Berar, Ahmadnagar, Bijapur (Vijayapura), Bidar and Golkonda became independent kingdoms. The art of miniature painting flourished in some of these centers, also known as Deccani painting. Among the Bijapur sultans of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686), Ibrahim Adil Shah II (r. 1571–1627) stands out as a poet, musician and painter, in addition to being a talented ruler and patron of the ‘art. Mark Zebrowski (1944–1999), who published a pioneering book, Deccani painting (1983), remarked that Ibrahim was “the greatest patron of the arts produced by the Deccan”.

Ibrahim belonged to the Sunni sect of Islam but was broad-minded in his religious views and practices. He was devoted to the Prophet Muhammad, the Hindu deities Saraswati and Ganapati and the Sufi saint Sayyid Muhammad Gisu Daraz (1321-1422) of Gulbarga. Ibrahim was well aware of the Indian aesthetic concept of rasa (gasoline), originally proposed as eight (rasas) by Bharata Muni in the Naatya Sastraan ancient Sanskrit treatise on drama, etc. Later, a ninth was added, and thus came the idea of ​​the Nava Rasa. In 1599, he laid the foundations for a new capital, Navraspur, near Bijapur. It was destroyed during a war in 1624 because its fortification had not been completed at that time. He also issued a coin, the Nun-i-Nauras. Two Bijapur poets of his time, Rashid Qazwani and Abdul Qadir, took the pseudonyms of Nauras and Naurasi respectively, but their writings have not survived. Ibrahim loved his elephants, Atash Khan and Nauras Paikar, and his drum called Moti Khan. He was a master chess player and is said to have written a treatise on the board game.

Although Persian was the dominant language at the time, Ibrahim wrote 59 songs and 17 verses – in Kitab-i-Nauras (Nauras Nama)—in Deccan, which later developed into Urdu. It was edited and translated in 1959 by Nazar Ahmad of Lucknow. PK Gode (1891-1961), the first curator of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, wrote in his foreword that the work “was a notable attempt with a lesson in itself for all Hindu and Muslim thinkers today ‘today’. The same opinion, I suppose, still carries weight today.

Burial complex of Ibrahim, Bijapur, by William Robert Houghton (1826–1897). (Photo | An illustrated postcard)

Muhammad Zuhuri (c. 1537–1616), Persian poet, was initially in Shiraz (Iran), but later served in Akbar’s court in Agra and under three Sultans of Ahmadnagar, then in Bijapur under Ibrahim. He wrote Saqi Nama (book of the cupbearer), Khan-i Khalil (Table of the Friend of God), Gulzar-i-Ibrahim (Abraham Rose Garden), as well as the preface to his patron’s book. In GülzarZuhuri wrote about the virtues of Ibrahim who, like the Nava Rasa, were new. He said further about Ibrahim: “In the art of painting, he excels the painter…While placing the mirror in front of him, he paints his own picture…(and) also an excellent calligrapher .” Although portraits have been known in Indian art since very ancient times, making a self-portrait looking at one’s reflection in the mirror was of European origin, and to my knowledge, previously unknown. A painting by Ibrahim, known to have been copied in Bikaner (Rajasthan) from a lost original in Bijapur, is in the David collection in Copenhagen, Denmark. This painting contains certain qualities, in particular the gaze which, in my opinion, appears as a self-portrait in the mirror. Incidentally, Cornelius Claesz Heda of Haarlem of the Netherlands was a court painter to Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612), and also worked under Ibrahim. Heda presented a painting titled Bacchus, Venus and Cupid to Ibrahim. However, only a letter written by him from Navraspur has survived, but not his paintings made in Europe or India.

Ibrahim took the title of Jagat Guru (Universal Preceptor). A portrait in the City Palace Museum in Jaipur shows him with a mark on his forehead, similar to the sacred mark common to several Hindu sects. According to Zebrowski, “In all but one of Ibrahim’s portraits…he is shown wearing a rudraksha necklace”. Ibrahim, in my opinion, seems to have been inspired by the locally dominant Veerasaivism, which places the highest importance on a personal Guru, and also the Rudraksha necklaces.

Many poets of Ibrahim’s court wrote poems for which illustrated/calligraphic manuscripts were produced in Bijapur. For example, Husain Manjhu Khalji, under the pen name of Hans (swan), wrote a Deccani love story, the Pem Nem (Labours of love). Its copy in the British Library contains 34 paintings.

Zuhuri also mentions six courtiers of Ibrahim, including a painter, Farrukh Husain, also known as Farrukh Beg (c. 1547-1616), and says, “Expert painters are proud to be his pupils. Many of Farrukh Beg’s paintings provide a sumptuous feast for the eyes. He and his paintings, in my opinion, should be discussed separately, sooner rather than later.

Srinivas Sistla

Associate Professor, Department of Fine Arts, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam

([email protected])

The Bahmani kingdom with its capital at Gulbarga (Kalaburagi, Karnataka) was founded in 1347, but later Berar, Ahmadnagar, Bijapur (Vijayapura), Bidar and Golkonda became independent kingdoms. The art of miniature painting flourished in some of these centers, also known as Deccani painting. Among the Bijapur sultans of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686), Ibrahim Adil Shah II (r. 1571–1627) stands out as a poet, musician and painter, in addition to being a talented ruler and patron of the ‘art. Mark Zebrowski (1944–1999), who published a pioneering book, Deccani Painting (1983), remarked that Ibrahim was “the greatest patron of the arts produced by the Deccan”. Ibrahim belonged to the Sunni sect of Islam but was broad-minded in his religious views and practices. He was devoted to the Prophet Muhammad, the Hindu deities Saraswati and Ganapati and the Sufi saint Sayyid Muhammad Gisu Daraz (1321-1422) of Gulbarga. Ibrahim was well aware of the Indian aesthetic concept of the Rasa (essence), originally proposed as eight (Rasas) by Bharata Muni in the Naatya Sastra, an ancient Sanskrit treatise on drama, etc. Later a ninth was added, and thus came the idea of ​​the Nava Rasas. In 1599, he laid the foundations of a new capital, Navraspur, near Bijapur. It was destroyed during a war in 1624 because its fortification had not been completed at that time. He also issued a coin, the Nun-i-Nauras. Two Bijapur poets of his time, Rashid Qazwani and Abdul Qadir, took the pseudonyms of Nauras and Naurasi respectively, but their writings have not survived. Ibrahim loved his elephants, Atash Khan and Nauras Paikar, and his tambura called Moti Khan. He was a master chess player and is said to have written a treatise on the board game. Although Persian was the dominant language at the time, Ibrahim wrote 59 songs and 17 verses – in Kitab-i-Nauras (Nauras Nama) – in Deccani, which later developed into Urdu. It was edited and translated in 1959 by Nazar Ahmad of Lucknow. PK Gode (1891-1961), the first curator of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, wrote in his foreword that the work “was a notable attempt with a lesson in itself for all Hindu and Muslim thinkers today ‘today’. The same opinion, I suppose, still carries weight today. Burial complex of Ibrahim, Bijapur, by William Robert Houghton (1826–1897). (Photo | An illustrated postcard) Muhammad Zuhuri (c. 1537-1616), Persian poet, was initially in Shiraz (Iran), but later served in Akbar’s court at Agra and under three Sultans of Ahmadnagar, then in Bijapur under Ibrahim. He wrote Saqi Nama (Book of the Wine Cup Bearer), Khan-i Khalil (Table of the Friend of God), Gulzar-i-Ibrahim (Rose Garden of Abraham), as well as the preface to the book of his boss. At Gulzar, Zuhuri wrote about Ibrahim’s virtues which, like the Nava Rasa, were nine in number. He said further about Ibrahim: “In the art of painting, he excels the painter…While placing the mirror in front of him, he paints his own picture…(and) also an excellent calligrapher .” Although portraits have been known in Indian art since very ancient times, making a self-portrait looking at one’s reflection in the mirror was of European origin, and to my knowledge, previously unknown. A painting by Ibrahim, known to have been copied in Bikaner (Rajasthan) from a lost original in Bijapur, is in the David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark. This painting contains certain qualities, in particular the gaze which, in my opinion, appears as a self-portrait in the mirror. Incidentally, Cornelius Claesz Heda of Haarlem of the Netherlands was a court painter to Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612), and also worked under Ibrahim. Heda presented a painting titled Bacchus, Venus and Cupid to Ibrahim. However, only a letter written by him from Navraspur has survived, but not his paintings made in Europe or India. Ibrahim took the title of Jagat Guru (Universal Preceptor). A portrait in the City Palace Museum in Jaipur shows him with a mark on his forehead, similar to the sacred mark common to several Hindu sects. According to Zebrowski, “In all but one of Ibrahim’s portraits…he is shown wearing a rudraksha necklace”. Ibrahim, in my opinion, seems to have been inspired by the locally dominant Veerasaivism, which places the highest importance on a personal Guru, as well as Rudraksha necklaces. Many poets of Ibrahim’s court wrote poems for which illustrated/calligraphic manuscripts were produced in Bijapur. For example, Husain Manjhu Khalji, under the pseudonym of Hans (swan), wrote a Deccani love story, the Pem Nem (Toils of Love). Its copy in the British Library contains 34 paintings. Zuhuri also mentions six courtiers of Ibrahim, including a painter, Farrukh Husain, also known as Farrukh Beg (c. 1547-1616), and says: “Expert painters are proud to be his pupils. Many of Farrukh Beg’s paintings provide a sumptuous feast for the eyes. He and his paintings, in my opinion, should be discussed separately, sooner rather than later. Srinivas Sistla Associate Professor, Department of Fine Arts, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam ([email protected])