About the Book


Retold from the Hamzanama

By Mamta Dalal Mangaldas and Saker Mistri

Foreword by Milo C. Beach, Retired Director, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Published by Mapin Publishing AND HarperCollins Publishers India

The Hamzanama (or “Story of Hamza”) was the most popular epic during the Mughal period. Full of giants, demons, dragons, heroes and beautiful princesses, these were great adventure stories narrated around camp fires and in courts in many countries from Iran through Central Asia and India, and even across the Indian Ocean, in Indonesia.

In fact, it was one of the favourite stories of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. In the 16th century, when the thirteen-year old Emperor ascended the throne, he commissioned a grand illustration of the Hamzanama. It took 100 artists over 15 years to complete the illustration and the inscription of the Hamzanama. The resulting manuscript included over 1400 magical paintings, which illustrated 360 tales. Today only about 200 of these paintings are known to exist.

The Kidnapping of Amir Hamza contains a retelling of one exciting tale from the Hamzanama. It has been lavishly illustrated using the original paintings which Emperor Akbar enjoyed. The book introduces children to the creation of Mughal paintings in the chapter; Akbar’s Painting Studio. It also initiates them to ways of seeing Mughal art in the chapter; Be An Art Detective.

The paintings in The Kidnapping of Amir Hamza belong to the MAK museum in Austria.