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Among the many treasures of the John Fredrick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia are twenty-five elaborately illustrated folios from a single Mughal manuscript, the Razmnama (literally, "Book of War"), dated to 1598–99. The manuscript that contained the Free Library's pages was created during the reign of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar (reigned 1556–1605).
Although the pages from the 1598–99 Razmnama have been dispersed to collections around the world, they were once bound into a single book whose folios numbered in the hundreds. This exhibition is the first time since 1923 that all twenty-five of the Free Library’s pages are being displayed together. The extensive conservation treatment necessary to exhibit these pages has been made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Dorothy del Bueno. The Book of War: The Free Library of Philadelphia's Mughal Razmnama Folios affords a rare opportunity to explore, through the lens of a single manuscript, an exciting moment of artistic experimentation and cultural exchange, and is the happy result of an ongoing collaboration between two Philadelphia institutions.