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Rectangular painting showing five seated figures arguing in a courtyard, near a large tree, while two standing figures look on. Two more standing figures argue over a seated horse in the lower left. There are captions in the upper and lower right.
AKM288.15, Men Arguing in a Courtyard, fol.236r

© The Aga Khan Museum

Page with twelve lines of text enclosed in a rectangular box outlined in gold and blue.
AKM288.15, Men Arguing in a Courtyard, fol.236r, Back

© The Aga Khan Museum

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On Display
Men Arguing in a Courtyard
Folio from the manuscript of Akhlaq-i Nasiri (Ethics of Nasir), by Nasir al-Din Tusi (d. 1274)
  • Accession Number:AKM288.15
  • Creator:painted by Dhan Raj
  • Place:Lahore, Pakistan
  • Dimensions:23.9 x 14.2 cm
  • Date:1590–1595
  • Materials and Technique:opaque watercolour, ink, and gold on paper
  • 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.


    See AKM288 for an introduction to a manuscript of the Ethics of Nasir (Akhlaq-i Nasiri) and links to the other paintings within this manuscript.

Further Reading


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.

Graves, Margaret S. and Benoît Junod, eds. Architecture in Islamic Arts: Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum. Geneva: Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2011, 210–11. ISBN: 9780987846303

Note: This online resource is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. We are committed to improving this information and will revise and update knowledge about this object as it becomes available.


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