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Asaf Khan

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1631 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bichitr (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Credit Line:

    From the Minto Album

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This portrait of Yamin al-Daula Asaf Khan was done by the leading Mughal court artist Bichitr and is dated to the third regnal year of the emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). Asaf Khan was the emperor's father-in-law and one of his most trusted confidants, as well as his commander in chief. The painting, with its putti hovering in the sky and perspective, shows the thorough assimilation of European conventions into Mughal art.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour on paper, portrait of Asaf Khan, the father-in-law of Shah Jahan, with the Mughal army under his command at the time of victory. In the background is a landscape with a town. The putto hovering above his head bears a scroll dated to the 3rd regnal year (ie of Shah Jahan).

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1631 (made)


Bichitr (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper


Height: 38.9 cm page, Width: 26.5 cm page, Height: 24.7 cm painting without borders, Width: 16.2 cm painting without borders

Object history note

From the Minto album, a collection of pages from Mughal royal albums sold at Christie's by Lord Minto in 1925. The pages were purchased jointly by the V&A and Alfred Chester Beatty and remain in the Museum, and in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

Descriptive line

Painting, portrait of Asaf Khan, by Bichitr, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, ca. 1630-1; on the reverse (IM.26A-1925) is a panel of illuminated calligraphy within ornate borders on indigo-dyed paper

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pp. 156 and 157, pl. 118 and details pls. 119 and 118
STRONGE, Susan. Painting for the Mughal Emperor: The Art of the Book 1560 – 1660 London : V&A Publications, 2002. 192p, ill. ISBN 1 85177 358 4.


Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper



Subjects depicted

Noble; Landscape; Army


Portraits; Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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