Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs

Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Starting with the Indian type animals a systematic evaluation of animals in Islamic and related art shows a predominance of matches between the Widener Mughal Animal Carpet and Indian art. The elephants as well as the crocodile are very close matches with animals in a number of miniatures all attributed to an Indian artist named Miskin.
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
"The Raven Addresses the Assembled Animals" by Miskin. Circa 1590. British Museum, London.

The Crocodile
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Detail - from the rug.

Please note the similarities in the curved fangs, the eye blazes, the ears, and the fish like tail end. Crocodiles are very rare in Mughal art which makes the similarities all the more striking.

Detail - "The Raven Addresses the Assembled Animals"

Circa 1590, ascribed to Miskin. British Museum, London. 2.

Besides the Indian animals and the fantastic animals are the realistically drawn animals that are less specifically attributable to India and are also seen in Central Asia and Persia. I was not expecting much when I began surveying what I was thinking of as the more common animals. Starting with what I assumed was a leopard it rapidly became apparent that these animals were as important as any of the others and were of great utility in identifying the rug. What I initially failed to realize is that grouping and position are extremely important. With the aid of computer magnification it was readily apparent that not just one animal would be portrayed but groups of animals could be taken from a miniature.
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Detail - from the rug.

Please note the similarities in the portrayal of the hunting cheetah and the prey. The sense of flight is apparent in the rug as well as the Miniatures by Miskin. It is interesting to note that there is an apparent similarity between the black buck that the cheetah is chasing in the rug as well as in the picture, the horns, the color, and in the slight protrusion of the male appendage.
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Detail - "An Unfaithful Wife and her lover" 3.

Signed Miskin, from the Baharistan of Jami in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. This detail shows the top of a tent where the woman and her lover are found. Here we see that Miskin is comfortable with the idea of portraying action in textiles.
Realistic Animals in Mughal Art and Oriental Rugs
Detail

"Akbar Stages a Hunt Near Lahore" 

Composition by Miskin, Circa 1590 Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Please also note the similarities of the turbans to the one the man on the elephant in the rug is wearing. The sense of action that we can see in the carpet is not completely unknown in Mughal art, but the heightened sense of action or flight that we see in the carpet is most closely mirrored by this miniature.

One important point to note is that many of these same images are seen in other artists work. The key is that the art of Miskin more closely matches more of the images than any other artist's work. Please observe how Miskin gave that sense of activity to his work that other artists just can not seem to capture. The style of the pouncing hunting cheetah is a good example.
Upon study it became increasingly apparent that black bucks as portrayed in this way are an important clue and are as common to Moghul art as Persian Rabbits are to Persian animal carpets.