The Fox's Fear (Painting, Recto; Text, Verso), Folio 314 From A Manuscript Of The Divan Of Anvari
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1960.117.314
People
Attributed to Miskin, Indian
Title
The Fox's Fear (painting, recto; text, verso), folio 314 from a manuscript of the Divan of Anvari
Other Titles
Alternate Title: "A Prince Riding to Hounds"; Folio 316 from a Divan of Anwari, copied for Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
Series/Book Title: Divan of Anvari
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: 14 x 7.2 cm (5 1/2 x 2 13/16 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
1960.117.314
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Label Text: Anvari's Divan: A Pocket Book for Akbar, written 1984
13. The Fox’s Fear
Attributed to Miskin
folios 314a & 313b 1960.117.13

Label Text: Ebru: The Art of Marbling in the Islamic World with Selections from the Edwin Binney, 3rd Collection of Turkish Art, written 1986
3. Fox’s Fear, from a Divan of Anvari
Attributed to Miskin
India, Mughal, dated 996/1588 A.D.
Opaque watercolor with facing page on marbled paper
14 x 7.5 cm (each folio)
Gift John Goelet, formerly in the collection of Louis J. Cartier 1960.117.13

Label Text: The Enlightened Eye: Gifts from John Goelet, written 2000
Attributed to Miskin
The Fox's Fear
Folios 313b and 314a from a Divan (Collected Works) of Anvari
India, Lahore, Mughal period, manuscript dated AH 996/ AD 1588
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Gif t of John Goelet, formerly in the collection of Louis J. Cartier, 1960.117.13

In this lively painting, wide-eyed foxes flee from a sword-wielding hunter and his hound. A short poem entitled "Complaint about His Contemporaries" illuminates the painting:

A fox was running, grieving for his life.
Another fox saw him in such a state
And asked : "Please tell me, brother, what is wrong?"
He said : "The king is hunting donkeys here!"
"But you are not a donkey-so why fear?"
He answered "That is right, but, oh! these men;
They do not know and they cannot discern.
They think that fox and donkey are the same!" [draft]

Label Text: The Enlightened Eye: Gifts from John Goelet, written 2000
Illustrations from a Divan (Collected Works) of Anvari
India, Lahore, Mughal period, dated AH 996/ AD 1588
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Gift of John Goelet, formerly in the collection of Louis J. Cartier, 1960.117.1-15
Manuscript colophon: "This elegant copy was completed at the hand of the sinful slave who hopes for God's mercy ... [name obliterated] ... in the city of Lahore at the beginning of Dhu'l-Qa'da 996 [September 22, 1588]"

In 1585, Akbar (r. 1556-1605), the third Mughal ruler of Hindustan, transferred his capital to Lahore to strengthen control of the empire's northwestern territories. During its thirteen-year residence at Lahore, the emperor's court witnessed the production of some of the most exquisite and luxurious examples of all Mughal art. Many of the works copied and illustrated for Akbar at Lahore were poetic texts, and notable among these productions was this Divan (Collected Works) of Auhaduddin 'Ali Anvari (d. c. 1190).
This diminutive copy of Anvari's Divan is one of the great treasures of Mughal art given to Harvard University by John Goelet. The manuscript, which could have easily been held in the palm of the emperor's hand, contains fifteen jewel-like paintings (seven are on display in this gallery) . The text is beautifully penned in nasta'liq script on gold­ flecked and marbled paper. Although the paintings bear no signatures, they can be attributed to the foremost masters of the Mughal atelier: Basawan, his son Manohar, Miskin, and 'Abd al-Samad.
This Divan and other artistic works made for Akbar at Lahore represent a departure from the historical and epic texts that had characterized the first half of the emperor's reign. These earlier compositions, teeming with activity and figures, were the result of collaborative efforts in which two or more artists worked together to complete individual paintings. Akbar's tastes appear to have changed over time,
for by the later years of the sixteenth century, each painter was encouraged to develop an individual style and to complete a work of art from design to finish. In this later stage, compositions were more economical, and emphasis was placed on the interaction between figures in the painting. The aesthetic trends begun in Akbar's atelier at Lahore were to mature fully during the rule of his son Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). [draft]

Label Text: Paintings for Emperors, Rajs, and Sultans, written 1987
The Fox’s Fear
By Miskin
Folio from a Divan of Anvari
Mughal, Lahore, manuscript dated 1588
The Harvard University Art Museums, Gift of John Goelet
1960.117.13

Label Text: An Imperial Vision. The Art of Mughal India, 1526-1658, written 1992
The Fox's Fear
By Miskin
From a Divan of Anvari
Mughal, Lahore, ms. dated 1588
Opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of John Goelet
1960.117.13

Publication History

James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), page 144-145

Exhibition History

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

Paintings for Emperors, Rajs, and Sultans, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 09/19/1987 - 11/21/1987

An Imperial Vision. The Art of Mughal India, 1526-1658, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/17/1992 - 12/06/1992

Arts of Empire: Mughal India, 1526-1705, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/17/1992 - 12/13/1992

The Enlightened Eye: Gifts from John Goelet, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/12/2000 - 05/07/2000

Related Works
Verification Level

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