Tutinama (Tales of a Parrot)

Tutinama, literal meaning "Tales of a Parrot", is a 14th-century Persian rendering of a series of 52 stories, containing 250 miniature paintings. The illustrated version was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar in the later part of the sixteenth century. Its creative history in the 14th century AD in Iran is also linked to an earlier ancient anthology of succession of ‘Seventy Tales of the Parrot’ in Sanskrit compiled under the title Śukasaptati (a part of katha literature) dated to the twelfth century AD. In Iran, as in India, parrots (in light of their purported conversational abilities) are popular as storytellers in works of fiction.

The adventure stories narrated by a parrot, night after night, for 52 successive nights, are moralistic stories to persuade his owner not to commit any adulterous act with any lover, in the absence of her husband. The illustrations embellishing the stories created during Akbar’s reign, amply depict the theme of the stories through miniature paintings of impressionable effect. These were created in a span of five years after Akbar ascended the throne.

The authorship of the illustrated miniature paintings’ version of Tutinama is credited to two Iranian artists named Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdus Samad who were in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. They illustrated the original Persian stories of Tutinama with beautiful miniature paintings.

The Parrot addresses Khojasta, a scene from the Tutinama (1556-1565) paintings.