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Image of Chanda’s husband, Bavan, replies to Chanda and releases an arrow

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Chanda’s husband, Bavan, replies to Chanda and releases an arrow

Creation date: late 16th century
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Manuscript Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.258
State/Province: Delhi or Uttar Pradesh
Dimensions: 9 31/32 x 7 19/32 in. (25.3 x 19.3 cm)


Sotheby's, London, England (December 13, 1972 - December 13, 1972)

Maxwell, London, England (December 13, 1972 - December 13, 1972)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (December 13, 1972 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

March 2005
Origins of Mughal Painting
Shown here are two pages from a lavishly illustrated romance that tells the adventures of two lovers, Laurak and Chanda. Produced just before the founding of the Mughal atelier, the manuscript is a crowning achievement of the Indo-Persian hybrid style. The story itself was written by an Indian Muslim, in a local Indian dialect of the Ganges River region, but using Persian script. The Indian painter, probably a Hindu, followed Persian conventions of the vertical book format and pastel coloring, while retaining the Indian penchant for compartmentalized spaces, profile view, sharp lines, and alert angular gestures. Though the grassy tufts scattered across the backgrounds are Persianate, the marvelous globular tree is reminiscent of indigenous Indian types as seen in the page with Krishna in Section II (1990:579). The dramatically swirling skies and textile patterns are distinctive to this manuscript and add to the emotion of the scene.
The figures, leafy ground cover, and some of the pink background in one of these two paintings have been overpainted (1990:258). The other page with three registers (1990:257) has not been overpainted at all, and despite its somewhat damaged condition, the sensitivity and delicacy of the painting is clearly visible throughout this work. This manuscript exhibits a complete melding of Indian and Persian traditions into a fresh new harmonious work of art and literature. The painters who formulated and mastered this hybrid style were prominent members of the new Mughal atelier under Akbar.

October 2005
Domains of Wonder
In a harmonious synthesis of Indian and Persianate elements, a new style and literary genre emerged in early 16th century illustrated manuscripts. Indigenous Indian figures and trees are arranged in the foreign vertical format and painted in Persianate pastel hues. The story of the star-crossed lovers Chanda and Laurak was written by an Indian Muslim in a local dialect (Avadhi) in Persian script.
The Chandayan is the earliest work in the genre of “Sufi romance,” stories of lovers whose quest for union mirrors the mystic’s search for spiritual truth. The narratives originate from local folk repertoires and were adapted to suit the multiple levels of meaning required by the genre.

Chandayan tells of the affair of Chanda and Laurak, each of whom is married. The painting on the left depicts a scene from early in the story, when Princess Chanda’s beauty arouses the lust of Rao Rupchand, who with his formidable army besieges the city of her father, Rao Mihr. In the top register, Mihr’s emissaries return with a report of Rupchand’s warlike intentions. Warriors and horses shown in the lower registers are possibly a peace offering sent by Mihr.

Once Laurak, a warrior in Mihr’s army, defeats Rupchand, he meets and falls in love with Chanda. Their affair is discovered, and they must elope. Upon leaving the city, they are intercepted by Chandra’s husband, Bavan, an impotent coward. Bavan attacks Laurak, but, as Chandra anticipates, his arrows fail to reach their mark.

Last Updated: 9/5/2017


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

The Mughal and Deccani Schools: Indian Miniature Painting from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd The Portland Art Association , 12/2/1973 - 3/7/1976

Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting San Diego Museum of Art , 10/22/2005 - 1/27/2008

Epic Tales from India: Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/19/2016 - 6/12/2018


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dr. Edwin Binney, 3rd. The Mughal and Deccani Schools Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1973
Page Number: 17, 20, 21, Figure Number: 6b

Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, Sotheby & Co.. London, England, December 13, 1972
Page Number: 19, Lot no. 86, Figure Number: 86

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. Domains of Wonder: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2005
Page Number: 58, 59, Figure Number: 15

Ms. Marika Sardar and Ms Neeraja Poddar. Epic Tales from Ancient India San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2016
Page Number: 134, 135, Figure Number: cat. 77


Inscription, On reverse:

Inscription, On reverse: the shooting of the third arrow by Bawan and its falling in the house.

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