Mughal India, circa 1620, gouache and gold on paper, MA 12622 Recently installed in the museum rooms with other Mughal paintings, this miniature is characteristic of the 17th century taste for animal art with a naturalistic approach. Representations of fauna and flora constitute a genre in their own right in Mughal painting, attested from the end of the 16th century by the natural history pages of the various Babur-nama manuscripts - the Memoirs of Emperor Babur, founder in 1526 of the Mughal Empire, which include many descriptions of the flora and fauna of newly conquered India. The propensity for naturalism, which characterized Mughal painting under the reigns of the emperors Jahangir (1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (1628-1658), naturally favored the flourishing, in the 17th century, of a brilliant animal art, dominated by an almost scientific approach to the subject. This delicate "portrait" of a Chukar partridge is fully in line with this pictorial movement promised to fruitful longevity and in which some great names of the imperial workshop excelled - such as the painter Ustad Mansur.
National Museum of Asian Arts - Guimet