A Himalayan Cheer Pheasant
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Mughal, ascribed to Mansur
Mansur is famous for his studies of birds, animals and flowers. He began his illustrious career during Akbar’s reign and continued to work in the royal library for Jahangir. He and other artists accompanied Jahangir on his frequent travels across the empire. The emperor gave him the title Nadir al-’Asr, or ‘Wonder of the Age’.
Mansur had begun his illustrious career during Akbar’s reign (1556-1605). His work is found in some of the pages of the V&A's Akbarnama. He continued to work in the royal library under Jahangir (r. 1605-1627), and was with other artists who accompanied the emperor in his frequent travels across the empire. Jahangir gave him the title Nadir al-‘Asr, or Wonder of the Age. Only he and one other artist, Abu'l Hasan, are recorded as having been honoured in this way. Mansur was particularly famous for his studies of birds, animals and flowers.
The Himalayan Cheer Pheasant may have been seen by the artist in Kashmir, a province which Jahangir loved and frequently visited, especially in the last years of his reign. The borders of densely arranged gold flowering plants on indigo-dyed paper probably also date to the reign of Jahangir.
Text and image credit: Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London