The commission illustrates episodes from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ in the exquisite landscape of the Hamzanama, the earliest expression of the Indian subcontinent’s celebrated Indo-Islamic art tradition.
This painting is part of a triptych narrating the biblical episode where Jesus calms the storm. The second of the three panels shows Jesus sleeping even as a storm engulfs the ship he and his fellow travellers are on. There is commotion among the men. Some try to save a man who has falled over board, and the others hold on for dear life. One of them tries to wake up the sleeping messiah and the storm hovers over them personified by a monster whose face is formed by the waves of the sea. This work is inspired by the the miniature painting traditions of the hills of Punjab as well as the Mughal court. See the triptych here.