THE VISIT OF DOST MUHAMMED MUSSAWAR TO LAHORE – IN SEARCH OF PRINCE HUMAYOUN’S PATRONAGE OF ART

THE VISIT OF DOST MUHAMMED MUSSAWAR TO LAHORE,
IN SEARCH OF PRINCE HUMAYOUN’S PATRONAGE OF ART
Colophon for Prince Kamran

The greatest name in Islamic painting boils down to Kamal-ud-din Behzad, and everyone seems to have heard about him. Behzad must have produced abundance of paintings but very few survive to this day. Behzad also left many talented students. One such exceptional painter was Mulla Dost or Ustad Dost Muhammed Mussawar. Dost Muhammed worked for the Safavid court but later sought new patrons. In this respect he came to Kabul and from there proceeded to Delhi in search of Prince Humayoun. In this respect he landed at Lahore and met Prince Kamran who was in control of this city. A school of book production and painting was already active here and we see the same working in Kamran’s Baradari, which still exist to this day.

Lahori rendering Prince Kamran
Dost Muhammeds meeting point

A manuscript created at that time, written by Abdullah Sherazi is in some private hands. It shows what was happening here. Even in midst of chaos, emphasis on art was not forsaken. Realizing the tussle between the two brothers, Dost Muhammed went back to Kabul and served Humayoun there for many years as is proven by his seal which says the same. But his presence in Lahore was there.

Rare portrayal of Prince Kamran
Dost Muhammed 1545

There was a manuscript of Behzadian School  with antique dealer Bahadur Shah of Mochi Gate Lahore. And it was big news at that time. It finally fell into the hands of Jalaluddin Publishers of Kashmeeri Gate, Lahore. There were five miniatures in it and M.A. Rahman Chughtai had seen it. Its final destination or present location is no known but it was attributed to Dost Muhammed Mussawar and probably done in Lahore. History is full of riddles that cannot be solved easily.

Humayoun

A farman of Mirza Kamran explains the situation well. It says:

Scholars have expressed their opinion on this like that:
¬†“But very soon, Humayun found himself engaged in military campaigns culminating in his loss of Hindustan in 1539-40. On his way to Humayun’s court, Dust Muhammad would doubtlessly have alighted in Lahore, where Kamran was based at the time (a fact, again, apparently overlooked by previous scholars). Once there, the master was probably advised not to proceed further and consequently joined the prince’s retinue. Humayun also eventually betook himself to Lahore, but Kamran did not hand over the city to him nor allow him to proceed in state to Kabul, forcing him to seek asylum with Tahmasp. Although partly conjectural, this scenario would account for Dust Muhammad’s departure and his choice of Kamran as a patron better than a purported flight to Kabul (where Kamran, incidentally, only moved his headquarters after Humayun’s flight from Hindustan in 1540.”
Prince Humayouns seal

Mirza Kamran in Lahore at that time. Dost Muhammed calls here. Sees the squabble going in between the two brothers and decides not to prolong his stay here and proceed back to Kabul. A seal testifies that Dost Muhammed got into the service of Prince Humayoun. Art flourished even in the worst of times.

Kamran Shahrukhi Kabul 951 AH

7 thoughts on “THE VISIT OF DOST MUHAMMED MUSSAWAR TO LAHORE – IN SEARCH OF PRINCE HUMAYOUN’S PATRONAGE OF ART”

  1. The richest history of Art in the region lies in Lahore itself. Lahore the city of Art and Culture with aesthetic sounded residents.

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