painting / manuscript / album
Yudishthira wrestling with Karna. Page from an illustrated manuscript of the Razmnama. Originally belonged to manuscript dated 1007 AH / AD 1598. Both men, stripped to the waist and standing, embrace one another in this traditional form of wrestling. Two chariots stand on either side while attendents await in the foreground. A hilly landscape with single tree compose the background. No text.
Ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper.
- Made in: India
- (Asia,South Asia,India (pre-1947))
- Width: 17.2 centimetres (sheet)
- Height: 30 centimetres (sheet)
- Width: 11.1 centimetres (image)
- Height: 20.3 centimetres (image)
Yudishthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, and Karna, his bastard half brother, wrestle in the traditional way, stripped to the waist and standing. This artist has created an archaic mood in his picture by including only bows and arrows and no 'modern' armour.
By the 1590s Akbar had assembled a large atelier of artists who illustrated the numerous historical, epic and poetical texts written and translated at the emperor's behest. The Razmnameh is the Persian abridged translation of the Mahabharata. The pale green ground and painterly treatment of foliage charaterise the numerous dispersed illustrations of the Razmnameh.As noted by the Persian caption, this painting depicts Yudishthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, wresting his half-brother Karan in the traditional manner, standing and stripped to the waist. The page belongs to a manuscript comprising the second oldest known copy of the Razmnama, an abridged Persian translation of the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic recounting the legendary war between the royal Kaurava and Pandava clans. The translation from Sanskrit was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (ruled 1556–1605) as part of a campaign to make Persian the court language. This helped appease Hindu opponents and also exposed the Persian literary repertoire to ancient Indian narratives.
2012 - 2013 7 Aug - 27 Jan, BM, 'Fair Play: Heroes, Athletes & Princes in Islamic Art'
1976 13 Apr-11 Jul, BM, 'Paintings from the Muslim Courts of India'
- Associated Title: Razmnama
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: RFM524
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.