VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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The Hamzanama
Bl 8770
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The Hamza-Nama is renowned as one of the most important works of painting in the Islamic world. Today a total of 200 sheets out of the original 1,400 sheets of Akbar’s Hamza-Nama have been preserved in various collections worldwide. The MAK has the greatest quantity, with 60 leaves.

History of the Object
The Hamza-Nama tells of Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib (c. 569–625), the uncle of the prophet Muhammad. The historical Hamza was opposed to Islam at first until he converted in 615, after which he became one of its most ardent champions. The historical facts were embroidered over the centuries with a variety of fictional events. The tales of the Hamza-Nama are about the struggles of the Muslims against the “infidels” and the attempt to convert them; likewise legendary sorcerers, demons and fairies; daring heroes, brave women and trickster spies, who are said to have played a role in the life of the Amir Hamza. They were commissioned by Akbar, the “Great” (r. 1556–1605), probably the most influential of all Mogul rulers, and were created between 1557 and 1577 in his court workshops in Fatepur-Sikri, the new capital of India he had founded.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Painting on Cotton 
Measurements
55 x 70 cm 
Creator name
Court workshops in Fatepur-Sikri 
Creator date
 
Where it was made
North India 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 16th century ~ AD 16th century 
Creation date
Mughal Empire, AD 1557–1577 
Function
Painting 
Acquisition
1873, Vienna World Fair 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
Georg Mayer 
Owner
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art 
Museum
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art 
Credit line
MAK 

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