It's The Day For The Garden! (Painting, Recto; Text, Verso), Folio 173 From A Manuscript Of The Divan Of Anvari
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1960.117.173
People
Ascribed to Mahesh, Indian
Title
It's the Day for the Garden! (painting, recto; text, verso), folio 173 from a manuscript of the Divan of Anvari
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: Divan of Anvari
Alternate Title: "A Gardener Plucking Blossoms while another digs with a Spade"; Folio 173 from a Divan of Anwari, copied for Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
1588
Places
Creation Place: South Asia, Pakistan, Lahore
Period
Mughal period
Culture
Indian
Location
Level 2, Room 2590, South Asian Art
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
folio: 13.97 x 7.62 cm (5 1/2 x 3 in.)
Provenance
Louis J. Cartier collection. John Goelet, New York, NY, (by 1960), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Goelet, formerly in the collection of Louis J. Cartier
Accession Year
1960
Object Number
1960.117.173
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Label Text: Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, written 1993
It's a Day for the Garden!
Folio from a Divan of Anwari, copied for Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
India, Mughal, manuscript dated 996 (1588 A.D.)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of John Goelet
1960.117.4

The poem illustrated here, praising a patron of the 12th­ century author, begins, "It's a day for the garden, for cheer and joy..."The tiny painting probably reflects the relative informality of Emperor Akbar's gardens, where trees and flowers were allowed to grow with natural abandon within their geometric beds.

Label Text: Anvari's Divan: A Pocket Book for Akbar, written 1984
4. It’s the Day for the Garden!
Attributed to Mahesh
folios 173a & 172b 1960.117.4

Label Text: Courts and Countryside: Islamic Paintings from the 14th through the 17th century, written 1999
Gardeners at Work
Folio 173r from a Divan (Collected Works) of Anvari made for Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
India, Mughal period, AH 996/AD 1588
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Gift of John Goelet
1960.117.4

The water basin and irrigation channels seen in this beautifully detailed painting were standard elements of the geometrically structured gardens (chahar-bagh) of Iran that the Mughal emperors imported to India. In his autobiography, the first Mughal ruler Babur (d. 1530) describes his pioneering efforts: "Then in that charmless and disorderly Hind, plots of garden were laid out with order and symmetry, with suitable borders and parterres in every corner and in every border, rose and narcissus in perfect arrangement."
This painting and the one on the right are detached from a manuscript of the collected works of the Persian poet Anvari (d. about 1190). The emperor Akbar, for whom this particular manuscript was produced, enjoyed hearing Anvari’s poetry read aloud at court. Familiar with Anvari’s verse, Akbar's son Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) once quoted the poem illustrated in this painting to describe a summer garden party of 1613:
It's the day for the garden, for cheer and for joy;
It's the day for the market of basil and rose.
The dust is all mixed with amber and musk;
The skirt of the zephyr spreads fragrance and scents.

Publication History

Michele de Angelis and Thomas W. Lentz, Architecture in Islamic Painting: Permanent and Impermanent Worlds, brochure, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Mass, 1982)

Annemarie Schimmel, Terres d'Islam: Aux Sources de l'Orient Musulman, Maisonneuve et Larose (Paris, France, 1994), Pg. 156

Richard C. Foltz, Frederick Denny, and Azizan Baharuddin, ed., Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass, 2003), cover

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 86

Exhibition History

Anvari's Divan: A Pocket Book for Akbar, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/07/1984 - 03/28/1984

Akbar's India: Art from the Mughal City of Victory, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/24/1986 - 03/16/1986; Asia Society Galleries, New York, 10/10/1985 - 01/05/1986

Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/08/1993 - 08/22/1993

Courts and Countryside: Islamic Paintings from the 14th through the 17th century, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/21/1999 - 08/22/1999

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Related Works
Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted