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Emperor Babur

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This portrait of the Mughal emperor Babur was probably done during the reign of his great-great grandson, Shah Jahan, in about 1630. It is inscribed in Persian, the language of the court and of the elite of the Mughal empire, 'likeness of Babur Shah'. The painting is mounted on a page for an album, and has calligraphy by Shah Jahan's son, Dara Shokuh, on the reverse. It was bought by the museum from an auction at Sotheby's, London, in 1972.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, a portrait of Emperor Babur, seated on a white dari placed on an arabesque carpet which covers a stone terrace. He wears a long coat (jama) and girdle in the Persian style and a gold turban wound on a red kullah. His coat was thinly painted with a light copper green, in his left hand he holds a tooled leather binding and his right hand is extended outwards. Before him lie various objects - an open manuscript, several fruits and a leaf-basket of pink flowers.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1630 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

shabih-e babur shah
likeness of Babur Shah


Height: 21.4 cm, Width: 9.7 cm

Object history note

A panel of calligraphy by Dara Shokuh is on the back of the page (IS.37:2-1972).

Descriptive line

Painting, Emperor Babur, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1630

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
p. 151, pl. 114
Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010

Labels and date

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


Paint; Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper



Subjects depicted

Terrace; Carpet; Ruler; Emperor


Paintings; Portraits; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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