Folio page with a painting enclosed in a tan rectangular border. It depicts a grey, domed shrine with three seated figures conversing in front. There are six standing and seated figures left of the shrine, with two more in the courtyard, one in the doorway, and two outside the walls.
AKM284.12, Sa’di and the idol of Somnath

© The Aga Khan Museum

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Sa’di and the Idol of Somnath
Folio from the manuscript of Kulliyat (Collected Works) of Sa‘di (d. 1292)
  • Accession Number:AKM284.12
  • Creator:ascribed to Dharm Das
  • Place:India, Agra
  • Dimensions:41.8 x 26.2 cm
  • Date:ca. 1604
  • Materials and Technique:opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper
  • This is the tenth painting to appear in the Bustan. At one point in his extensive travels, Sa`di stopped at the great temple of Somnath in India, where he engaged in religious discussion with Hindu priests. Hearing Sa`di’s explication and praise of Islam, the priests showed how the temple’s idol gestured in response to their prayers. Initially confounded, Sa`di inspected the statue at night and discovered a mechanical device responsible for moving the idol’s arms. On the following day he confronted the priests with their trickery.


    Below the painting, marked as page 159 in the manuscript, is an inscription in red ink. It names the painter, Dharm Das, who was assigned by the workshop master to complete this illustration.


    See AKM284 for an introduction to the Kulliyat (Collected Works) of Sa'di, and other paintings from this manuscript.


    — Marika Sardar


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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