Ustad Mansur was a seventeenth-century Mughal painter and court artist of Jehangir (r. 1605 - 1627) who specialised in depicting plants and animals. Ustad Mansur started his career during the last few years of Akbar's reign as a minor painter. But during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, a great patron of the arts, Mansur created his masterpieces. Jahangir went as far as to bestow on him the title of Nãdir-al-’Asr ("Wonder of the age" or "Wonder of the Epoch").
Life and works
His two signed works, one of a rare Siberian Crane and the other of a Bengal Florican are in the Indian Museum, Kolkata. His other works are in the National Museum, Delhi, the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur and the Chhatrapati Sivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai.
He was the first artist to paint both the Siberian Crane and possibly the Dodo. A Dodo was brought to Jehangir's court via Portuguese controlled Goa and a painting of it is found in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and although unsigned has been thought to be the work of Mansur or a contemporary.
Several later 17th-19th century artists have come to both imitate and copy his works, especially for export to Europe. It is therefor not easy to asses a true work by Ustad Mansur, which can in case of the chameleon (above left) had to be done by taking in account the quality of the work. The painting is highly detailed and is presumed to be a Flap-necked chameleon or possibly Indian chameleon on account of the highly detailed view of the feet of the animal showing each foot exhibiting "fused digits in opposed groups", a lighter band by the edge of the mouth, and a line of white scales on the underside of the belly. 
- Verma, S. P. 1999. Mughal Painter of Flora and Fauna Ustad Mansur. Abhinav Publications.
- Blunt, Wilfrid (1948). "The Mughal Painters of Natural History". The Burlington Magazine 90 (539): 48–50.
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, p. 815
- Rangarajan, M. (2001) India's Wildlife History, pp 14.
- Das, A.K. 1974. "Ustad Mansur", Lalit, 17, 1974. p. 37.
- Rangarajan, M. (2001) India's Wildlife History, p. 19.
- Ustad Mansur paintings
- Iwanow, A (1958). "An Indian picture of the Dodo". Journal of Ornithology 99 (4): 438–440. doi:10.1007/BF01671614.
- The Emperors' album: images of Mughal India, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Ustad Mansur (nos. 41,44,45,47)
- The Royal Collection: A chameleon, contains a larger piece on Ustad Mansur under further details.
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