In the spring of 2018, students enrolled in Dr. Hussein Keshani’s course ARTH 375 – Encountering India: The Age of the Mughals at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, Canada, were assigned the task of creating a multimedia web animation. They had to discuss an episode from the Akbarnama using the Victoria & Albert Museum’s manuscript IS.2-1896. Most had no knowledge of Mughal art history or web programming!
The Akbarnama (Book of Akbar)
The text of the Akbarnama was written in Persian, the language of the Mughal court, by the courtier Abu’l Fazl between 1590 and 1596 and spans three volumes. It is a celebratory court chronicle of the major events in the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) along with descriptions and anecdotes of the court and empire.
The first volume recounts the history of the Timurid dynasty of Central Asia from which the Mughals descended; it also summarizes the reigns of Akbar’s grandfather Babur and father Humayun. The second volume recounts Akbar’s reign. The third volume, also known as the Ain-i-Akbari (Akbar’s Mode of Governing) offers eclectic information about the empire and court as well as India’s religions.