Basawan Suraj Gujarati
Workmen in a Garden
Workmen in a Garden, around 1590
Ink, watercolor, and gold on paper
Sheet: 26.7 x 15.9 cm (10 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 17.463
In 1526, Babur, the Turko-Mongolian ruler of Fergana, Central Asia, conquered much of northern India and established the Mughal dynasty. The Baburnama (Babur’s autobiography), originally written in Chagatai Turkish, was translated and illustrated by order of Emperor Akbar, Babur’s grandson. One of almost two hundred paintings that filled the beautifully inscribed manuscript, this miniature shows an official, dressed in white and visible in the lower right, directing workmen in a garden. A native of the grasslands to the northwest of India, Babur constructed gardens as a refuge from the heat. The meticulously rendered landscape, combining naturalistic and traditionally abstract elements, is characteristic of the late sixteenth-century Mughal painting style.