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Shah Jahan

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1616 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IM.14-1925

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This portrait of prince Khurram, the eldest son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) was almost certainly painted when Jahangir bestowed upon him the title Shah Jahan, meaning 'King of the World'. Shah Jahan retained the title when he succeeded his father as emperor in 1628.
In later years, Shah Jahan added the Persian inscription in black ink in the border, noting that it is 'a good likeness of me in my twenty-fifth year and it is the fine work of Abu'l Hasan'.
The minute Nasta'aliq inscription in gold beginning on the right of the green ground, under Shah Jahan's hand, and continuing on the left beneath his right elbow may be translated: Blessed likeness of the qibla [the direction of Mecca] and master of mankind / the work of the [artist] born in hereditary palatial service Nadir al-Zaman. The title 'Shah Jahan' is written above his head in gold.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Shah Jahan is depicted as a prince, wearing an orange jama, standing facing right with his face in strict profile and holding a turban ornament. The deep green background is filled with flowering plants. Persian verses reserved against a gold ground filled with interlocking lines bearing coloured palmettes and leaves are in narrow borders at left and right. The painting and verses are contained within a frame of gold palmettes on scrollling lines, and the outer borders are filled with flowering plants painted in gold with colours, now very faded.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)

Date

ca. 1616 (painted)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'shabih-e khub-e bist u panj salagi-ye man ast va kar khub-e nadir al-zaman ast'
'this is a fine likeness of me in my 25th year and this is fine work by Nader al-Zaman' [=Abu'l Hasan]
The attribution by Shah Jahan identifying himself as the subject and Abu'l Hasan as the artist is in black ink beneath the portrait .
The minute Nasta'aliq inscription in gold beginning on the right of the green ground, under Shah Jahan's hand, and continuing on the left beneath his right elbow may be translated: Blessed likeness of the qibla [the direction of Mecca] and master of mankind / the work of the [artist] born in hereditary palatial service Nadir al-Zaman. The title of Shah Jahan is written above his head in gold.

Dimensions

Height: 38.7 cm Page, Width: 26.6 cm page, Height: 20.6 cm painting only, Width: 11.5 cm painting only

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 Shah Jahan as a prince, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, by Ab'l Hasan, Mughal, ca. 1616

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

The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, London, 1982, p.37, cat. 41(by Robert Skelton) ISBN 0906969263

Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224.p81. no.56.
A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, "The Jewelled Objects of Hindustan" in Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and Nigel Israel, eds., Jewellery Studies, vol. 10, 2004, pp. 9-32: illustrated figs. 10 and 11 (detail of turban jewel held in Shah Jahan's hand); discussed pp. 18-21.
T.Koezuka, ed; RC,TK,SS. Catalogue; Intro DS,TK; The Arts of the Indian Courts.Osaka,1993. No.4
Asok Kumar Das, Splendour of Mughal Painting, Bombay, 1986, plate IX, p. 36
Fig.10, page 34
Susan Stronge, Nima Smith, and J.C. Harle. A Golden Treasury : Jewellery from the Indian Subcontinent London : Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, 1988. ISBN: 0944142168
p. 128, pl. 93
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.
p. 142, pl. 107
Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010
p. 92, cat. no. 22
The Indian Portrait: 1560-1860 London: National Portrait Gallery, 2010 Number: 978 1 85514 409 5

Materials

Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Prince; Flowers; Jewellery

Categories

Paintings; Portraits; Royalty; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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