Qasam al-Abbas Arrives from Mecca and Crushes Tahmasp with a Mace

Mahesha, Indian, active c. 1570 - 1590Manuscript dated c. 1562-1577

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, United States

This battle scene comes from a monumental manuscript of the Hamzanama that was produced for the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). Based on a Persian legend, the Hamzanama was transmitted across the Muslim world, including India. Here the hero Qasam al-Abbas fights the giant villain Tahmasp. Their different mounts suggest their different nationalities: Qasam rides a camel, which together with the white cloth fastened in his helmet and looped around his face, is meant to indicate his Arab origins. (Indeed, the text confirms that he comes from Mecca, the center of Muslim pilgrimage on the Arabian peninsula.) Tahmasp, on the other hand, is a Persian villain and so rides a beautifully caparisoned Persian horse that wears gold armor held together by blue, Persian-style textiles.


  • Title: Qasam al-Abbas Arrives from Mecca and Crushes Tahmasp with a Mace
  • Date Created: Manuscript dated c. 1562-1577
  • Location Created: India
  • Physical Dimensions: w648.46 x h787.91 in (Overall)
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Gift by exchange with the Brooklyn Museum, 1937, © 2011 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Opaque watercolor and gold- and silver-colored metallic paint on cotton
  • or made in: Pakistan
  • Manuscript/Series/Book Title: Page from a dispersed manuscript of the Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza)
  • Attributed artist: Mahesha, Indian, active c. 1570 - 1590

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