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Author
[MANUSCRIPT]
Title
Hamla-i Haidari by Mohammed Rafi’-Khan.
Published
Kashmir, 19th century.
Description
Persian manuscript on paper, 390 folios, 23 lines of black nasta´liq script in four columns, sometimes in diagonals with interlinear floral decoration; columns ruled in red and blue, and framed in gold and blue; rubrication in blue nasta‘liq within blue and gold cartouches across two columns with floral decoration, edged in pink; opening illuminated polychrome bifolium extending into outer margins; f.254r, gold and polychrome illuminated headpieces on ff.2354r and f.344v, 56 full-page miniatures, with blue guard-sheets, lacquer binding with flowers, gold floral arabesques around the edge. 30.2 x 18.5 cm
This lavishly illustrated manuscript is a rhymed biography of Mohammed and ‘Ali, composed by Mohammed Rafi’-Khan of Delhi (d. 1123 / 1711). In its imitation of the form of Firdausi, Hatifi and other Persian poets it projects the early protagonists and events of Islam into an epic frame. The 56 colourful and striking illustrations are fine examples of Kashmiri art at this period, combining the dynamism and ingenuity of the longstanding Persian miniature painting tradition, with a typically Kashmiri boldness of style and taste for colourful and elaborate illumination; they convey their message with broad, bold strokes, evocative of the martial story of the infancy of Islam.
Persian and Turkish illustrated manuscripts had long been used as models for manuscript production in various parts of the Indian subcontinent; hence, illustrated epics were frequently the subject of Kashmiri manuscript illumination. The subjects, format and style of the paintings are clearly modelled on illustrated epic stories produced in Persia and the Ottoman Empire from the fourteenth century onward.


Illustrations:

f.8v: Jibra’il investing Mohammed with the prophetship
f.12r: Hazrat Ja’far Tayar received by the king of Ethiopia
f.21r: The Prophet ascends to the heavens on his horse Buraq, accompanied by the angels
f.32v: The Prophet welcomed by supporters upon his arrival at a city
f.42v: An infidel prisoner on a camel before a mosque
f.50v: Amir Hamza kills his foe near a pool
f.54v: The killing of Abu Jahal and his followers
f.64v: Hint bint Utbah, daughter of Abu Jahal, orders her negro retainer to wreak vengeance on the Prophet, Hamza and ‘Ali
f.69v: ‘Ali killing Talhah
f.76r: ‘Ali killing Hisham
f.80r: The Prophet in his tent
f.86v: Battle scene
f.89r: A murder is carried out as guards sleep
f.94v: The Prophet in his tent; palm trees strung with the heads of infidels
f.99v: Abu Sufyan gathers the elders of the Quraish at the Masjid al-Haram
f.111r: Jibra’il kisses ‘Ali’s hand after ‘Ali has decapitated ‘Amr b. ‘Abd Wadd
f.118r: ‘Ali and his army attack the fortress of Khaibar; foreground, the Prophet in his tent
f.121r: Prisoners brought before the Prophet
f.125v: ‘Umar b. Amir ambushed by infidels; background, the Prophet in his tent
f.128r: Uthman b. ‘Affan and companions before a mosque
f.132v: Talayah bringing Quraishi prisoners before the Prophet after plundering their caravan
f.135v: Abu Jaudal before the Prophet, ‘Ali and companions
f.141r: ‘Umar-i Umayyah giving the Prophet’s letter to the Negus of Abbysinia
f.142v: The Prophet’s letter is delivered to the Emperor of Rum
f.145v: Emissaries bearing a reply from Khusrau of Persia to the Prophet
f.149v: The Prophet and his followers of their way into battle
f.160v: ‘Ali attacks the forttress of the Jews, watched by the Prophet
f.162v: ‘Ali in battle
f.165r: ‘Ali on Duldul, supported by angels, having killed Marhab
f.167v: The Prophet in his tent with Jibra’il
f.175v: Pilgrims before the mosque at Mecca
f.176r: ‘Ali and followers preparing for battle
f.177v: Angels above the Prophet as he prays
f.188v: Abu Sufyan attacked by a woman
f.190v: The slave girl of Mecca deilvers Khatib’s letter to the Quraish to ‘Ali
f.192r: The Prophet encamped at night
f.200r: ‘Ali decapitates an enemy watched by the Prophet
f.203v: A prisoner brought before a lady in a tent
f.206v: Malik receiving the prophet’s emissaries before the battle of Hunain
f.211v: ‘Ali killing Abu Jadal in battle
f.219v: Malik, converted to Islam, before the Prophet and his companions
f.224v: Emissaries before the Emperor of Rum
f.228r: ‘Ali marches into battle with the Muslims
f.229v: The Prophet and companion, a mosque and palms in the background
f.240r: Christians in conference with the Prophet
f.253r: The Prophet, on a minbar improvised from camel saddles, gives a sermon to pilgrims
f.270r: A foe of the prophet struck by a rock from heaven
f.293v: ‘Umar and Abu Bakr hold a meeting to decide whom to swear allegiance to after the Prophet’s death
f.303v: Kizr reproves the relations of the Prophet for not making ‘Ali caliph
f.314r: Khalid, mace twisted round his neck, stands awkwardly before ‘Ali
f.320r: ‘Ali is miraculously unscathed by fire, thereby converting the Byzantines
f.321v: ‘Ali causes the dead to rise again, thereby converting Christians to Islam
f.324v: Abu Lu’lu, the Persian slave, threatens ‘Umar
f.335v: Envoys of Egypt come to Mohammed son of Abu Bakr
f.352v: The Battle of the Camel: between ‘Ali and the followers of ‘Aisha, hidden on a camel)
f.370r: ‘Ali in battle
References
See Sachau and Ethé, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, I, Oxford 1889, 518, pp.458-9.
Hand coloured plates
56
Binding/Size
M=4to
Category
Islam, Manuscript
Value
$25,001-100,000
Stock ID
1516