A Mughal miniature painting of Noah’s ark

Lucknow, circa 1770 AD, India

Length: 30cm Width: 17.5cm - Length: 11.81inches Width: 6.89inches

Opaque watercolour heightened with gold on paper with a floral boarder.

This charming and rare image shows Noah’s ark tightly framed within a vertical rectangular boarder ruled with coloured lines, the latter indented by the prow and stern of the ark at three central points and encroaching into the outer floral boarder. The whole is finely painted with intricate detailing; the prow formed with the head of a camel, the stern topped with a Mughal domed pavilion, the animals displayed packed into the lower deck within a room of wooded columns and arcades. On the deck above, a central mast with billowing sails rises up, piercing the pictures linear frame and into the outer floral boarder. Male and female figures in Islamic costume are shown on deck, some within a two tiered Mughal architectural building and others outside, the main figure on the right depicting Noah kneeling and wearing a white turban, his head illuminated by a glowing golden halo.

Various birds rest on the boats roof tops the most exotic being a peacock, other birds fly in the sky, while below in the water three unrecognisable sea creatures break the waves.

The main outer boarder is broad at the top, bottom and left hand side; it is painted with variegated floral sprays in gold against the light tan ground of the paper.

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