www.IndianMiniaturePaintings.co.uk - Indian miniature painting: Muharram procession. Emperor Akbar with musician Tansen before Tansen's guru Haridas. Mughal at Delhi, circa late 18th century

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Emperor Akbar with musician Tansen before Tansen's guru Haridas. Mughal at Delhi, circa late 18th century. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. Folio 38.9 x 31.3cm; image 22.8 x 17.2cm

Emperor Akbar once asked one off his Navaratnas (nine jewels of his court), his favourite musician Haridas, if there was a better singer than him. Haridas replied there was but one, his guru, Haridas. Akbar ordered that Tansen bring Haridas to him to perform, but Tansen replied that Haridas would only sing to god and not to Akbar, even though he was emperor. Hearing this Akbar said they must visit Haridas with himself disguised as Tansen's attendant, so that he might hear Haridas sing. When they did so Akbar was entranced to the point of blissfulness.

Ref: Delhi Haridas 000441

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Images and text © Peter Blohm