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Emperor Akbar's exceptional interest in Christianity is reflected in many ways. Among these was his commissioning in 1602 of a Life of Christ from his guest, the Jesuit priest Jerome Xavier, thus marking a singular moment in the relations between one of the greatest Muslim rulers and Catholicism. This fascinating text--translated into English for the first time--draws mostly on Biblical and apocryphal sources, but also reveals that in order not to antagonize his Muslim hosts, Father Jerome occasionally made concessions in his work. Of the three illustrated copies, the one used in this study and now in the Cleveland Museum of Art is the most important. Its twenty-seven high-quality miniatures were inspired by the text itself, resulting in unique interpretations of episodes that often do not find parallels in a European context.
About the Author
Pedro Moura Carvalho, Ph.D. (2003) in Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is chief curator of the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. He has published extensively on the European contribution to the arts of India, Iran, and China. Among his works are "Luxury for Export, Artistic Exchange between India and Portugal" (2008), and "Gems and Jewels of Mughal India" in the Khalili Collection (2010).Wheeler M. Thackston is Professor of the Practice in Persian and Other Near Eastern Languages, retired, at Harvard University. Among his publications for the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture are A Century of Princes: Sources on Timurid History and Art (1989), and Album Prefaces and Other Documents on the History of Calligraphers and Painters (2001). He has also translated the memoirs of Mughal emperors, such as the Baburnama (1996) and the Jahangirnama (1999).