akbarIya chitra kathA

The Mogol tyrant Akbar gave the old tradition stemming from the mankha and yamoghaNTha-s of yore an unexpected revival when it had nearly died under the depredations of the rAkShasa-mata. In the later phase of his career post 1579 CE the once ardent Ghazi started losing his faith in the cult of marUnmatta and started turning to a more Hindu way of thought. He commissioned illustrated versions of various Hindu texts since he had a problem with reading and writing. One such is the famous rAmAyaNa (The Freer rAmAyaNa, now preserved in the Smithsonian collection). While painted by both Hindu and Mohammedan artists, it shows a marked Abrahamistic influence throughout – notice the lack of the yaj~nopavIta-s for kShatriya-s and brAhmaNa-s and the horned demons. Several key figures are painted in the image of Akbar himself.

Click on the image to see it in full detail

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