Illustration from Chandrabadan Mahar


Illustration from Chandrabadan Mahar



Script – Arabic, language – Deccani Hindi

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
(24 folios)
Chandrabadan Mahar is a romantic love story written in 1626 CE by the poet Mukini of Bijapur. According to the story the hero Mahar falls in love with the princess Chandrabadan. When approached, Chandrabadan and her father insult him. Unable to bear the humiliation, he dies. When Chandrabadan sees the funeral procession of Mahar, her heart fills with love and repentance and she dies of shock. They are cremated together, thus being united only in death.
The painting is an example of continuous narration with the upper register showing the darikhana (courtroom) of Chandrabadan’s father. The king is seated here against a bolster on a chowki (stool)- like throne under a chhatri (parasol). A soldier stands in front of the king with folded hands, probably informing him about Mahar’s presence in the palace.
Porcelain vases are shown in niches in the wall, a common feature of Hyderabadi paintings.
The lower register shows a part of the ladies’ chamber where Chandrabadan is seated against a bolster, accompanied by three maids. Mahar, his lovesick eyes fixed on Chandrabadan, is shown being restrained by a soldier who looks like the one in the register above. Both the registers represent the landscape beyond the palace walls synoptically, by the tops of
three trees.
The colophon page says: “8th of Safar Sana in AH 1115 in spite of illness this story was completed (by the scribe) in Farkhunda Buniyad (Hyderabad).” The scribe, whose name has been blotted out, writes further that he is not hopeful of still being alive the next day but that his writing in black on white will remain alive forever. The text is written in khat e shikast (running hand).
There are many copies of this popular love story in other collections. There was a trend of illustrating Hindu love stories in Hyderabad.
The illustrations in the manuscript do not provide detailed studies of the characters or architecture. As suggested in the colophon, the manuscript seems to have been completed hurriedly for its owner without paying much attention to minute details; this and the lack of gold indicate a lesser rank of the patron of this work. The use of flat colours and the rendering
of the female figures derive from folk painting.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Manuscript Miniature Painting


Opaque watercolour on paper






dated AH 1115=1707 CE




Folio 22.5 x 12.8 cm, illustration 19.5 x 11 cm