The Issanama commission lies at the intersection of art and history, and offers lush evidence of the plurality and syncretism inherent in Indian culture. It’s an artistic collaboration between the founder of Sarmaya, Paul Abraham and traditional miniaturist and third-generation artist, Manish Soni of Bhilwara, Rajasthan. As such, the Issanama offers a fresh model of art patronage for the contemporary era, one in which the patron enters into an intellectual dialogue with the artist.
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 an interpretation of the Temptation of Christ by Satan, who is portrayed here as a ferocious dragon. Jesus stands atop a hill dressed like a hermit and holding a staff. The white and blue dragon slithers up trying to reach him, baring his claws and fangs. The Hamzanama painting depicting Umar slaying a dragon is the inspiration for this work.