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recto: Majnun throwing himself onto Layla's grave, folio from a <i>Khamsa</i> (Quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi verso: Majnun throwing himself onto Layla's grave, folio from a <i>Khamsa</i> (Quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi

one of set: 11008 one of set: 11005 one of set: 11006

Majnun throwing himself onto Layla's grave, folio from a Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi

Detached manuscript folio
Historical period(s)
Delhi Sultanate period, ca. 1450 or earlier
Pre-Mughal School
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
34.0 x 22.9 cm
Northern India
Credit Line
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Poets and painters associated with the Sultanate courts of India created an artistic culture that integrated Persian, Islamic and local elements. The author of the Khamsa (Quintet), the great poet, musician and mystic Amir Khusrau (ca. 1253–1325), composed poetry in both Persian and Hindi. Two centuries later, painters at another Sultanate court depicted the Khamsa stories in a style that combined the rounded silhouettes and three-quarter profile faces of near Eastern painting with the strong color of local Indian painting.

The love story of Laila and Majnun is one of the oldest and most passionate of Islamic tales. It tells of the handsome and beloved Majnun, the son of a Bedouin, who falls in love with the beautiful Laila. Their parents refuse to allow them to meet and Laila is forced to marry. When Laila dies of grief, Majnun laments at her tomb. The painter emphasized the tragedy by isolating, upon a field of saturated red, Majnun's body draped listlessly over Laila's coffin.

Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Delhi Sultanate (1206 - 1526), India, Khamsa, Layla, Majnun, nasta'liq script
Collection(s) Area
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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