Folio 127 (Text, Recto And Verso), From A Manuscript Of The Divan Of Anvari
verso © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Attributed to Manohar, Mughal
Folio 127 (text, recto and verso), from a manuscript of the Divan of Anvari
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: Divan of Anvari
Alternate Title: "A Wazir Dictating to Secretaries and Dispensing Justice"; Folio 127 from a Divan of Anwari, copied for Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
Work Type
manuscript folio
Creation Place: South Asia, Pakistan, Lahore
Mughal period
Physical Descriptions
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
folio: 15.2 x 14 cm (6 x 5 1/2 in.)
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
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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: Anvari's Divan: A Pocket Book for Akbar, written 1984
3. A Magnanimous Vizier
Attributed to Manohar
From a Divan-i Anvari, folios 128a & 127b, dated A.H. 996/A.D. 1588, written at Lahore

Publication History

Annemarie Schimmel and Stuart Cary Welch, Anvari's Divan: A Pocket Book for Akbar: a Divan of Auhaduddin Anvari, copied for the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar (r. 1556-1605) at Lahore in A.H. 996 A.D. 1588 now in the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1983), page 81-84/figure 3

Amina Okada, Imperial Mughal Painters: Indian Miniatures From the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Flammarion (Paris, France, 1992), page 140/.figure 156

40 Years On... Donations by John Goelet: Sculpture, Paintings and Drawings, Miniatures and Calligraphy, Tankas and Mandala, M. T. Train / Scala Books (New York, NY, 2000), page 183, 243

Exhibition History

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

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