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Description Walters manuscript W.596 is a copy of the Baburnama. Recognized as one of the world's great autobiographical memoirs, the Baburnama is the story of Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur (866 AH/AD 1483-937 AH/AD 1530), who conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal empire). Born in Fergana (Central Asia), Babur was a patrilineal Timurid and matrilineal Chingizid. Babur wrote his memoir in Chaghatay Turkish, which he referred to as Turkic, and it was later translated into Persian and repeatedly copied and illustrated under his Mughal successors. The present copy in Persian, written in Nasta'liq script, is a fragment of a dispersed manuscript that was executed in the late 10th century AH/AD 16th. The ordering of the folios as found here does not follow the narrative of the text. The Walters' fragment contains 30 mostly full-page paintings that are representative of the Mughal court style under the Mughal Emperor Akbar (reigned 963 AH/AD 1556-1014 AH/AD 1605). Another major fragment of this work containing 57 folios is in the State Museum of Eastern Cultures, Moscow. The dark green leather binding, which is not original to the manuscript, dates to the late 13th century AH/AD 19th or early 14th century AH/AD 20th.
  • The Art of the Book in India. British Library, London. 1982.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • The Royal Style. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989.
  • Mything Persons: Historic Figures in Legends of East and West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998.
  • Poetry and Prayer: Islamic Manuscripts from the Walters Art Museum. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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10th century AH/AD 16th century (Mughal)
ink and pigments on re-margined paper covered with limp dark green goatskin
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 12 5/8 x W: 8 1/4 in. (32 x 21 cm); W closed: 8 1/4 x D: 3/8 in. (21 x 1 cm)
  • India (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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