These six folios come from a luxurious manuscript. The size of the pages (nearly 50cm high) and the quality of the illustrations almost certainly indicate a princely commission. The paintings have a particular style which is immediately recognizable. The artist or artists who painted these illustrations had a sure hand, differentiating each of the protagonists of the Hamla-I Haydari with a high attention to details. Faces appearing in the depiction of Hell (lot 2) are impressive, sometimes verging on grotesque. Overall they show an influence of European portraiture and techniques. The sense of spatial composition as well as the use of colours however are typically Indian and Deccani particularly. However the use of greens, oranges, purples and heavy use of gold support this attribution to Deccan - the state of Golconda comes to mind as a potential origin for this manuscript. Its wealth attracted artists from across India during the 18th and 19th century resulting in a great combination of styles.
The Hamla-i Haydari is a versified account of the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his first four successors according to Shi'ism. The author Mirza Muhammad Rafi’ Bazil (d. 1713-14?) was originally from Mashhad, Iran but established himself in Delhi. A number of later authors went on adding on to the existing text of Bazil’s Hamla-I Haydari.
Another depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca destroying idols at the Ka’ba, although executed in Kashmir, is in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (suppl. Persan 1030 http://expositions.bnf.fr/islam/grand/isl_137.htm). A large copy of the Hamla-I Haydari attributed to Kashmir circa 1715-20 sold at Christie’s South Kensington, 22 April 2013, lot 285.
The present illustration is particularly interesting for its depiction of the Ka'ba appearing in the lower right corner of the painting. It is unusually shown as a Hindu temple with a lingam and a figure of Ganesh. According to Al-Bukhari's Sahih, the Ka'ba hosted 360 idols in its sanctuary. They were later destroyed under the Prophet Muhammad's order.