Khwaja Ab dus Samad

Khwaja Ab Dus Samad, (born 16th century), Persian painter who, together with Mīr Sayyid ʿAlī, was one of the first members of the imperial atelier in India and is thus credited with playing a strong part in the foundation of the Mughal school of miniature painting . Abd-uṣ-Ṣamad was born into a family of good social standing in Iran, and he had already gained a reputation as a calligrapher as well as a painter when he met the Mughal emperor Humāyūn, who was in exile in Iran. At Humāyūn’s invitation, he followed him to India in 1548, first to Kābul and later to Delhi. He instructed both Humāyūn and his young son, the future emperor Akbar, in drawing. Among his students while he was superintendent of Akbar’s atelier were Dasvant and Basāvan, Hindus who became two of the most renowned Mughal painters. ʿAbd-uṣ-Ṣamad received many honours from Akbar. In 1576 he was appointed master of the mint, and in 1584 at the end of his career he was made dewan of Multān. Among ʿAbd-uṣ-Ṣamad’s greatest achievements was the supervision, together with his fellow Persian Mīr Sayyid ʿAlī, of a large part of the illustrations of the Dāstān-e – Amīr Ḥamzeh, a series that numbered about 1,400 paintings, all of unusually large size. As none of the paintings is signed, it is not certain whether he himself did any of them. Among the miniatures bearing his signature is one in the Royal Library in the Golestān Palace.

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