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Muhammad Ali Beg

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1631 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hashim (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Muhammad ‘Ali Beg was the ambassador sent to the Mughal court by Shah Abbas of Iran, arriving in time for the New Year festival in March 1631. He remained there until October 1632, during which time his portrait was painted by the royal artist, Hashim. The painting is inscribed in Persian ‘likeness of Muhammad Ali Beg, ambassador, the work of Hashim’, possibly by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It was later mounted on a page with margins decorated with flowering plants and insects for inclusion in an album for the emperor.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour on paper, a portrait of Muhammad Ali Beg, Iranian ambassador to the Mughal court, on a green background; the border is decorated with flowers and insects.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1631 (painted)


Hashim (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'shabih-e muhammad 'ali beg ilchi, amal-e Hashim'
'likeness of Muhammad 'Ali Beg, ambassador, [the] work of Hashim'
Maker's identification; Persian; located to the left of the figure


Height: 38.7 cm page, Width: 26.4 cm page, Height: 23.9 cm picture without borders and rules, Width: 17 cm picture minus border and rules

Object history note

The folio is from a group of paintings acquired at auction in 1925 where they were sold as "The Minto Album" and subsequently divided between the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin and the V&A.

Descriptive line

Painting, portrait of Muhammad Ali Beg, by Hashim, opaque watercolour on paper, Mughal, ca. 1631

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

Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.92/3, no.69.

Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 127, p. 164.

Labels and date

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Mughal, by Hashem
c. 1631
From the Minto Album
This portrait is inscribed in Persian, the language of the Mughal empire, ‘Likeness of Muhammad Ali Beg ambassador, the work
of Hashem’. Muhammad Ali Beg was sent by Shah Abbas of Iran to the Mughal court and arrived in 1631. Hashem depicts his distinctively Iranian dress, particularly his turban jewels, with careful attention to detail. [27/9/2013]


Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper



Subjects depicted

Ambassador; Flowers; Insects


Paintings; Portraits; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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