Folio from a "Baburnama" Manuscript: Mughal Ruler Babur Supervising the Creation of a Garden, c. 1590-1598
Unknown (Indian, Imperial Mughal - c. 1590-1598)
opaque watercolour on paper with gold and coloured ruled borders
folio: 26.5 x 15.9 cm irregular; image: 24.8 x 13.3 cm
Gift of Max Tanenbaum, Toronto, 1979
National Gallery of Canada (no. 23551r)
Pictured here under a luxurious canopy by a chinar tree and flowering shrub, the Mughal ruler Babur oversees the planting of a garden. The rich, saturated colours and lively surface patterns convey a joyful, idyllic scene. Babur was a keen naturalist who conceived of the first Mughal-style gardens, which were to be "laid out with order and symmetry, with suitable borders and parterres in every corner, and in every border rose and narcissus in perfect arrangement." A descendant of Genghis Khan, Babur conquered much of northern India, and was also a great poet and memoirist. This painting is a page from his illustrated autobiography, the "Baburnama".