Khwaja Umar saved from pursuers

Battle scene from the Hamza Nama of Akbar
Painted in 1570

Battle scene with an 'ayyar', Khaja Umar the master spy and friend of Amir Hamza.
Unique in Mughal painting in its ambition and freedom of expression, the Hamzanama contains many pages of great verve. Here the lanky Umar, arch-trickster and loyal helper of Hamza, is magically saved from his pursuers by a heavenly hand. He sails aloft against dramatic cloud effects, which like the ‘hand of God’ and the scattered skulls and bones, are adapted from European painting sources.

Date: 1565 - 1570; Mughal Period (1526 - 1858)
Artist: attributed to Kesu Das (active c. 1570 - c. 1602)
Associated people: Akbar (ruled 1556 - 1605) (commissioner)
Material and technique: gouache with gold on cotton cloth
Dimensions: frame 77.2 x 60.6 x 2.2 cm (height x width x depth), painting 64.8 x 48.8 cm sight size (height x width)
Credit line: Lent by Howard Hodgkin.
Accession no.: LI118.100
Source: Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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