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Memoirs of Babur, Walters Art Museum MS. W.596

Mar 08, 2016

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Recognized as one of the world’s great autobiographical memoirs, the Bāburnāmah is the story of Ẓahīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur (866 AH / 1483 CE -- 937 AH / 1530 CE), who conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal empire). 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 nastaʿlīq script, is a fragment of a dispersed manuscript that was executed in the late tenth century AH / sixteenth CE. The ordering of the folios as found here does not follow the narrative of the text. The Walters' fragment contains thirty mostly full-page paintings that are representative of the Mughal court style under the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 963 AH / 1556 CE -- 1014 AH / 1605 CE). Another major fragment of this work containing fifty-seven folios is in the State Museum of Eastern Cultures, Moscow.

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