Panoramic view of the city of Mecca on Collections Sphere from Khalili Collections
The view of Mecca is remarkable for its comprehensiveness and accuracy and, in the manner of contemporary topographers, brilliantly combines a plan of the city with a bird’s-eye view from about 60 degrees. It was painted by Muhammad ‘Abdallah, whose grandfather Mazhar ‘Ali Khan, was court painter to the Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah II. Mazhar ‘Ali was commissioned by the Sharif of Mecca to depict the sacred monuments of his realm in the second quarter of the 19th century and Muhammad ‘Abdallah must have accompanied him there.
This is the earliest known accurate depiction of the Masjid al-Haram and the immediate vicinity. The painting is also unique among such representations in its inclusion of a ‘vignette’ of a man attending to his jars.