Folio from the Gulshan Album

The emperor Jahangir was passionately interested in the arts of the book. This folio’s border carefully records the work of artisans involved in manuscript production. Proceeding counterclockwise from the top right, they are shown burnishing paper, stamping designs into a leather cover, trimming folios, building a bookstand, preparing paint from gold, and writing.

The calligraphy is signed by Mir Ali al-Sultani (of the Sultan), a title bestowed upon him by Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara, the last Timurid ruler. When this folio was produced in Jahangir’s atelier, Mir Ali’s calligraphy was further embellished with intricate designs in opaque watercolors made from mineral colors and gold.

Folio from the Gulshan Album
Marginal figures attributed to Madhava (act. 1582–ca. 1624) India, Mughal
dynasty, ca. 1600
Calligraphy by Mir Ali
Probably Uzbekistan, Bukhara, ca. 1540
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper Purchase
Freer Gallery of Art F1954.116