Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Burhanpur (The calligraphy was done in Burhanpur, according to the inscription. , made)

  • Date:

    1650 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in ink, opaque water colour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This panel of Persian calligraphy was once part of a Mughal royal album. Inscriptions state that the calligraphy was done in the city of Burhanpur in the hijri year 1060, regnal year 3 (1650). Similar pages in other collections demonstrate that the writing was done by the prince Dara Shokuh, the son of the emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). On the other side of the page there is a portrait of the Mughal emperor Babur, probably done earlier, in about 1630. Mughal albums typically brought together contemporary and earlier calligraphies and paintings within decorated borders. This folio was bought by the museum from an auction at Sotheby's, London, in 1972.

Physical description

Painting, ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, calligraphy. Seven Persian couplets written in Nasta'liq script in irregular panels against a gold ground decorated with birds and plants. Additional inscriptions state that the calligraphy was done in Burhanpur, in 1060, regnal year 3 [1650].

Place of Origin

Burhanpur (The calligraphy was done in Burhanpur, according to the inscription. , made)


1650 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in ink, opaque water colour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Verses in Persian, stating the ages and periods of the office of the prophet Muhammad and the first four (orthodox) caliphs.

'written in the city of Burhanpur in the year 1040, regnal year 3'
smaller inscriptions in four panels


Height: 21.4 cm, Width: 9.7 cm

Descriptive line

Painting, album page verso, calligraphy panel, by Dara Shokuh, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, dated 1060, regnal year 3 [1650]

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

Susan Stronge: Painting for the Mughal Emperor The art of the Book 1560-1660, V &A publication: Page 166, pl. 129 and calligraphy page pl. 130

Labels and date

Portrait of the Emperor Babur. Inscribed in Persian, 'likeness of Babur Shah'. c 1630-40. [Nehru Gallery, 2005]

Production Note

In view of the fact that calligraphic specimens mounted on the three surviving pages of this album appear to be the work of Dara Shikoh, it seems probable that this was his personal muraqqa. The present specimen was written at Burhanpur when the court was there between February 1630 and March 1632, and at the time of writing it Dara Shikoh was in his 16th or 17th year. His father Shah Jahan was also producing calligraphic specimens for a personal muraqqa at the same age. Dara was a pupil of Abdur Rashid Dailami and refers to his own calligraphic contributions to a Karnama or Muraqqa in a preface which has been thought to relate to an album in the India Office Library which he gave to his wife in 1051.

Subjects depicted

Birds; Calligraphy; Plants


Paintings; Calligraphy


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.