Alam Musawwir

Alam Musawwir a ninteenth century artist of Dhaka, who with his pupils drew the famous Eid and Muharram Procession paintings of Dhaka. These are Dhaka's oldest watercolour paintings and are now housed in the Bangladesh National Museum. Nothing is known about the personal life of Alam Musawwir except that he was a contemporary of Nawab Nusrat Jung. It is presumed that he painted the procession series under the patronage of Nusrat Jung. The synonym of the last epithet of his name is 'artist', which may have been bestowed on him by his patron, who is reported to have been an avid patron of art and culture.

Alam Musawwir's Eid and Muharram Procession paintings portray the life style of the nawab and his retinue, Company officials, and commoners as well as destitute. These paintings also represent important landmarks of old Dhaka, such as the palace and the portals of the Naib-i-Nazim of Dhaka at Nimtali. The latter structure now is part of the premises of the asiatic society of bangladesh.

Alam Musawwir and his pupils worked on hand-made paper a little larger in size. (22" x 28") than the Mughal miniatures. His style was an admixture of Mughal style of painting or qalam and the Company style (British) of painting. He used an indigenous colour scheme and some traces of European perspective. The paintings of Alam Musawwir serve as valuable visual documents of the history and culture of Dhaka. [Najma Khan Majlis]