Page from a Tarikh-i-Alfi Manuscript: Events during the Reign of the 'Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tasim (Primary Title)
Page from the Tarikh-i-Alfi (A History of a Thousand Years): Events during the Reign of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'taism (Former Title)
India’s Mughal emperors were passionately interested in history. This page, illustrated on both sides, is from the Tarikh-i-Alfi (History of a Thousand), commissioned by Emperor Akbar to chronicle the first thousand years of Islamic world history. The imperial manuscript, illustrated by Akbar’s painting atelier, was completed two years after celebrations of the Muslim millennium in 1591–92. This page refers to events that occurred in 838–40, during the reign of the Abassid Caliph al-Muʿtasim in Baghdad. Its images depict portions of the accompanying text that mention the punishment of conspirators who plotted to overthrow the caliph. Within a palace courtyard, al-Muʿtasim is seated on a throne at the far right, attended by servants. He addresses a bearded man before him who, in turn, gestures to a bound prisoner, most probably the captured rebel Mazyar. Armed men and retainers stand to the left and in the foreground, where they wait with two riderless horses.
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