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Majnun among the animals (right); the youth thrown to the kings' dogs is unharmed (left)

Majnun among the animals (right); the youth thrown to the kings' dogs is unharmed (left)

From a manuscript of Nizami, Layla u Majnun,  copied c 1590, painted by Dhanwan and Asi respectively

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Pers d 102, pp 65–66

This double page depicts two themes prevalent in Mughal manuscripts.

On the right, Majnun is among the animals, as told in the Persian tale of Layla and Majnun. He is especially emaciated and is depicted on a rocky platform in a dramatic landscape that includes a stately tree and a flowing stream. Surrounded by his friends, the animals, he is reminiscent of images of Indian holy men or ascetics.

On the facing page, another story from the Persian tradition tells of a young man who, when about to be punished by being thrown to a pack of dogs, feeds them ahead of time so they will leave him unharmed.