The Evolution of Persian Paintings to Miniature Paintings of Moghul Era

Shikha Saxena
5 min readDec 18, 2021

A unique Blend of Indian Art, Persian Culture and Islamic Colors

Photo by McGill Library on Unsplash

Moghul dynasty which was originated in Northern India in 16th to Mid 18th century was founded by Moghul Emperor Babur (1526–1530), a Central Asian ruler of Turkish-Mongol descent. Let’s go through the evolution of Persian paintings to miniature paintings of Mogul era, to understand the origin of miniature paintings and their extension to Northern India centuries ago.

Moghul Paintings and artists flourished under the reign of Emperor Akbar. Akbari paintings alternative name for Moghul paintings are very illustrative, full of life and describing attire and event details. Also these paintings are in the form of book illustration with collections of miniature paintings about the events and preserved in “Akbarnama”.

Akbarnama: Roaming around in Garden

Origin and extension of Moghul Paintings in Moghul Empire

Babur or Zahir-ud- Din-Muhammad , founder of Moghul Empire and first Emperor of Moghul Dynasty in Indian Subcontinent was succeeded by Humanyu, Babur’s first and favorite son.

Humanyu or Nasir-ud-Din-Muhammad (1530–1556), second Emperor of Mughal Empire who ruled over territory, now known as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and Bangladesh.

When Humanyu was on exile in Persia he was exposed to Persian miniature painting. He commissioned one painting “Princes of the House of Timur” present in British Museum now. He brought two accomplished Persian artists to India “Abd-al-Samad” and “Mir Sayyid Ali

Humanyu’s major commission was Khamsa of Nizami, which is collection of 36 illuminated pages with art styles of various artists. He also commissioned two miniature paintings showing himself with family members this art subject was rare in Persia though exclusive for Moghuls.

Akbar or Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad (1556–1605) succeeded his father Humanyu and became third Mughal Emperor and expanded his empire in India. He consolidated regions and and was inclusive of diverse religions in India.



Shikha Saxena

A Technical Writer, an artist and blogger by choice. Passionate about reading , writing and editing, NY. and