Memoirs of Babur


Recognized as one of the world’s great autobiographical memoirs, the Bāburnāmah is the story of Zahīr al-Dīn Muhammad Bābur, who was born in 1483 and ruled from the age of 11 until his death in 1530. Babur conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal Empire). Originally from Fergana in Central Asia, Babur descended on his father’s side from Timur (Tamerlaine) and on his mother’s from Chingiz (Ghengis) Khan. Babur wrote his memoir in Chagatai, or Old Turkish, which he called Turkic, and it was later translated into Persian and repeatedly copied and illustrated under his Mughal successors. The present copy, in Persian written in nasta‘līq script, is a fragment of a dispersed manuscript that was executed in the late 16th century. The ordering of the leaves as found here does not follow the narrative of the text. The Walters' fragment contains 30 paintings, mostly full-page, which are representative of the Mughal court style under Emperor Akbar, who ruled 1556–1605. Another major fragment of this work, containing 57 folios, is in the State Museum of Eastern Cultures, Moscow. The dark-green leather binding, which is not original to the text, is in the region of 75–150 years old.

Last updated: May 24, 2017