A Drunken Babur Returns to Camp at Night

The memoirs of Babur, the first Mughal emperor were illustrated at the command of his grandson, the emperor Akbar. In his typically candid manner, Babur recounted how he became roaring drunk when camped outside Kabul on March 7, 1519. The artist Farrukh Beg closely followed Babur’s account of the aftermath of a drinking party with companions on a boat. He depicts Babur reeling from side to side as he galloped free-reined into the tent encampment. The almost completely uncolored figure, appears against a pale ground, as if he is riding through a moonlit landscape.

A Drunken Babur Returns to Camp at Night
From a Baburnama (Book of Babur)
Attributed to Farrukh Beg (act. early 1580s–1619)
Historic India (present-day Pakistan), Lahore, Mughal dynasty, ca. 1589
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery S1986.231