The Mughals, members of a Persianate empire that ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent after 1526, combined their love of nature with their love and patronage of art. By Akbar's reign the master artists of his atelier were producing hundreds of paintings of birds and animals with great accuracy and suavity for manuscripts of animal fables and adventures for the Emperor. Natural History drawing reached its highest point during the reign of Akbar's son Jahangir whose atelier most notably illustrated the Baburnama, Jahangir's great-grandfather's treatises celebrated as the first systematic account of Indian flora and fauna. Among the various master artists of Akbar's and Jahangir's ateliers, none are more important than Ustad Mansur who painted many images of rare and unusual birds, animals, and flowers for Jahangir. Wonders of Nature presents these images with their correct scientific identification and other relevant details.
II Baburnama: Mansur’s Early Natural History Paintings
III Historical Paintings and Portraits by Mansur
IV The Illumination Work of Mansur Naqqash
V Wonder of the Age: Studies of Animals and Birds
VI Mansur’s Flower Paintings
VII The Legacy of Ustad Mansur
Asok Kumar Das is a leading and senior art historian specializing in the art of the Mughals. He has worked on the Mughal collections of several museums around the world. He is currently a Tagore National Fellow for Cultural Research, working on the collection of drawings and paintings in the Art Section of the Indian Museum, Kolkata.