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Karna Slays the Kaikeya Prince Vishoka
Karna Slays the Kaikeya Prince Vishoka
From a dispersed Razmnama (Book of War)
Ascribed to Khemana, Indian, ca. 1598–99
Northern India, Mughal Court
Manuscript dated by internal colophon to 1598–99
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
The Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, John Frederick Lewis Collection.
The Book of War: The Free Library of Philadelphia's Mughal Razmnama Folios
July 14, 2007 - December 9, 2007

Among the many treasures of the John Fredrick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia are twenty-five elaborately illustrated folios from a single Mughal manuscript, the Razmnama (literally, "Book of War"), dated to 1598–99. The manuscript that contained the Free Library's pages was created during the reign of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar (reigned 1556–1605).

Although the pages from the 1598–99 Razmnama have been dispersed to collections around the world, they were once bound into a single book whose folios numbered in the hundreds. This exhibition is the first time since 1923 that all twenty-five of the Free Library’s pages are being displayed together. The extensive conservation treatment necessary to exhibit these pages has been made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Dorothy del Bueno. The Book of War: The Free Library of Philadelphia's Mughal Razmnama Folios affords a rare opportunity to explore, through the lens of a single manuscript, an exciting moment of artistic experimentation and cultural exchange, and is the happy result of an ongoing collaboration between two Philadelphia institutions.


Yael Rice • University of Pennsylvania History of Art Department
Darielle Mason • The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art


Gallery 227, second floor

In addition, a selection of early imperial Mughal paintings, drawn from the Museum's own collection, will be on view in Gallery 228.

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