He was also passionately curious about the forms and behavior of plants and animals, and it has been remarked that he might have been a better and happier man as the head of a natural history museum. When in 1612 a turkey cock was brought in a consignment of rarities purchased from the Portuguese in Goa, Jahangir as usual wrote up his observations, being particularly fascinated by its head and neck: 'like a chameleon it constantly changes colour'. His flower and animal artist, Mansur, known as 'Wonder of the Age', recorded the new specimen, rendering each feather and fold of skin with minute brushwork, against a plain background relieved only by (discoloured) streaks and a conventional row of flowers.
In this deliberate compilation there is none of the movement and interaction of figures of Akbar painting. Each finely portrayed face gazes forward in expressionless isolation an attitude which is, however, appropriate for the solemn formality of the durbar. The painting can be attributed to Manohar, the son of the great Akbari artist Basawan, who had developed a vigorous modelling technique and sense of space from European sources. In deference to Jahangir’s taste, these skills were modified by his son, who presents the outward show of imperial life, crystallized in elegant patterns and richly detailed surfaces.