The House of Bijapur

Artist: Painting by Kamal Muhammad (active 1680s)

Artist: Painting by Chand Muhammad (active 1680s)

Object Name: Illustrated album leaf

Date: ca. 1680

Geography: Made in India, Deccan, Bijapur

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper

Dimensions: Page: H. 16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm)
W. 12 13/16 in. (32.5cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Gifts in memory of Richard Ettinghausen; Schimmel Foundation Inc., Ehsan Yarshater, Karekin Beshir Ltd., Margaret Mushekian, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ablat and Mr. and Mrs. Jerome A. Straka Gifts; The Friends of the Islamic Department Fund; Gifts of Mrs. A. Lincoln Scott and George Blumenthal, Bequests of Florence L. Goldmark, Charles R. Gerth and Millie Bruhl Frederick, and funds from various donors, by exchange; Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art and Rogers Fund, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.213


This image from Bijapur made for the last of its rulers, Sikandar, shown here as a young boy soon before the fall of the kingdom to Mughal conquerors in 1686, brings together all nine ‘Adil Shahi sultans in a dynastic assembly likely inspired by Mughal paintings illustrating the same idea. Distant views of water hint at Bijapur’s former vastness, which, at its greatest extent, stretched to include Goa on the Arabian Sea. The key of legitimacy is being handed over by Isma’il, founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran (here erroneously identified as Shah ‘Abbas in a later inscription), to Yusuf, founder of the Bijapur dynasty, symbolizing the unwavering allegiance of the ‘Adil Shahi family to the Shi’ite creed. During its golden period under the free-thinking Ibrahim II (1579–1626, shown third from right), however, Bijapur witnessed an open embrace of Hinduism and Sufism and the formalization in 1583 of Sunnism as the state religion, which lasted until the end of his tenure.