Nan va Halva (Breads and Sweets)
Muhammad Baha' al-Din al-'Amili (1547–1620)
India, Deccan, Aurangabad
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Binding: leather
The text of this book is a series of moralizing poems on the merits of the ascetic life, three of which are illustrated. The painting illustrates the parable of a recluse who accepts bread from an infidel (depicted here as the English monarch Charles II) and is chided by a dog. The beautiful birds in the margin of the page compete for attention with the witty illustration.
Other paintings include one which accompanies a poem on the regrets of a life spent learning useless information; the artist has shown a school where only the sciences are taught, its teachers dozing, meditating and drinking.
Another painting accompanies a poem valorizing patience—a recluse, shown praying in the wilderness, does not receive his customary daily bread; when he accepts food offered by an infidel, he is scolded by a dog for not having waiting for God to provide.
A final image accompanies a poem about hypocrisy—it shows the widow Bibi Tamiz praying, although she is known to be a prostitute.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art