AN ILLUSTRATED FOLIO FROM THE 'CHESTER BEATTY TUTINAMA'
AN ILLUSTRATED FOLIO FROM THE 'CHESTER BEATTY TUTINAMA'
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AN ILLUSTRATED FOLIO FROM THE 'CHESTER BEATTY TUTINAMA'

MUGHAL INDIA, CIRCA 1580-1585

Details
AN ILLUSTRATED FOLIO FROM THE 'CHESTER BEATTY TUTINAMA'
MUGHAL INDIA, CIRCA 1580-1585
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper, depicting three ladies in discussion in a courtyard, 7ll. of black nasta'liq script above, in polychrome and gold rules, with wide gold speckled borders, the reverse with old inventory label
Painting: 6 1/8 x 5in. (15.7 x 12.8cm.); Folio: 11 5/8 x 9in. (29.4 x 22.9cm.)
Literature
C.P. Haase, J. Kröger, U. Lienert, Oriental Splendour, Hamburg, 1993, no.184, p.262, ill.p.263
Ludwig V. Habighorst, Moghul Ragamala – Gemalte indische Tonfolgen und Dichtung des Kshemakarna, Koblenz, 2006, fig.3
Exhibited
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg Orientalische Pracht, 1993

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Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam
Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam

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Lot Essay

The Tutinama (Tales of the Parrot) is a collection of fifty-two moralizing fables compiled in Persian by Ziya ‘ud-din Nakshahbi around 1329-30 AD. These were based on an earlier Persian translation of a Sanskrit text known as the Sukasaptati (seventy tales of a parrot). The Tutinama is an amusing series of tales woven around a merchant, Maimum who leaves his wife, Khojasta, in the care of a parrot and a myna. The wife kills the myna for advising her not to take a lover while her huband is away; the parrot, to save its skin and preserve her fidelity, proceeds to tell her a series of stories over the next fifty-two nights. The Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605) must have enjoyed these charming stories, for two extensively illustrated imperial copies of the Tutinama survive from the early years of his reign. The first Akbari copy of this text survives virtually complete in the Cleveland Museum of Art, while the second, from which this folio comes, has been dispersed and is in various collections. The bulk of the manuscript, some 143 folios and 102 miniatures, are in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Leach, 1995, Vol.I, pp. 21-74). Hence it is commonly referred to as the ‘Chester Beatty Tutinama’.

The manuscript was brought to France from India by General Jean-François Allard (1785-1839) who had been in the service of Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was purchased by Felix Feuillet (also known as Baron F.S. Feuillet de Conches), a collector of manuscripts, and was dispersed towards the end of the 19th century when the Baron’s collection was dissolved. Other folios are now in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (68.8.47), the Keir Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (IS.40-1966), the National Museum, New Delhi, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.81.8.6) and the David Collection, Copenhagen (inv. no.3/1999) to name a few.

The text in our folio does not correspond with the illustration. It relates to the story relayed on the forty-ninth night and corresponds to an illustration in the Cleveland Tutinama (f.311r), with Khojasta standing in front of the parrot. Our folio appears to illustrate an event from the story of the thirty-second night about two brothers Utarid and Kayvan both being in love with Utarid’s wife Khurshid. In the Cleveland version of this painting, Kayvan can be seen sitting on the right-hand side. For further discussion, see Haase, Kröger, Lienert, 1993, p.262.

For other folios from this manuscript which have sold at auction, see Sotheby’s, New York, 17 March 2015, lots 1179, 1180; and Christie’s, London, 14 October 2003, lot 88.

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