Bahāristān (The Garden of Spring)

Under the patronage of the Emperor Akbar, miniature painting in Mughal India, and the associated arts of decoration and calligraphy, reached a high point. His court painters worked in the Persian tradition, but invested it with their own energetic Mughal style. Among the finest products of Akbar’s patronage is this superb manuscript of the Bahāristān (Garden of Spring), a fifteenth-century classic by the great Persian poet Jāmī. The text was written in a beautiful nastaʿlīq script by the great scribe Muḥammad Ḥusayn, who held the title of Zarīn Qalam, or Pen of Gold. Specialist artists drew marginal figures, animals, birds and arabesques in gold outline on coloured paper. Illustrating scenes from the poem are six miniatures by the finest artists of the time.