Tusi, a renowned Iranian philosopher and scientist, wrote Akhlaq-i Nasiri (Ethics of Nasir) in about 1235 for Nasir al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahim, the Ismaili ruler of Quhistan in northeastern Iran. More than 300 years later, this text became a favourite of Akbar the Great, the Mughal emperor of India. It is likely that Akbar himself commissioned the present copy to be made in his court workshop. The text is accompanied by thematic paintings that add commentary relevant to India in the late 16th century.
Mughal paintings of Akbar’s period often depicted distant landscapes and city views, mostly influenced by the realism and perspective of European paintings. In this example, this treatment also provided a perfect solution for the artist to separate the outside world from the inside view of the courtyard, where two men are shown arguing.