MATERIAL: Paper
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: Total leaf 280 by 185 mm. (written space 180 by 80mm. and miniature 110 by 90mm.); framed
COMPONENTS: Single leaf, ink and opaque watercolour on paper, image set between two text panels (both single and double columns, total 5 lines black nasta'liq with one word highlighted in blue), panel ruled in gold, orange and blue, square-shaped gold and silver floral motif repeated along the outer margin and upper and lower edges.
CONDITION: Some very faint water-staining along upper and lower edges, scattered worm-holes throughout, with slight affect to the miniature,
ITEM ID: 4256
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Illuminated Miniature from an Illustrated Persian Manuscript

DATE
Century: 17th (1601-1700)
Notes: Mid-seventeenth century

Shah Jahan riding a composite elephant.

This leaf is evidently from an opulently illustrated Persian manuscript, probably commissioned by a high ranking official in the Moghul court. The elephant, which was probably added in the 18th century, is made up from a multitude of wild animals including lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, bulls, tortoises, mice, snakes, fish and a giraffe. The exquisite detail in the execution of miniature strongly suggests that the artist was one of the royal court, and probably accustomed to drawing Shah Jahan – whose face has been skilfully rendered in this image.

Mirza Shahabuddin Baig Muhammad Khan Shah Jahan (5 January 1592 – 9 May 1666) was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1628 to 1658.

He was chosen as successor to the throne after the death of his father in 1627. He was considered one of the greatest Mughals of the Timur family. Like his grandfather, Akbar, he was eager to expand his vast empire. In 1658, he fell ill and was confined by his son and successor Aurangzeb in Agra Fort until his death in 1666.

The period of his reign was considered the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan erected many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra, built in 1632–1654 as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1 September 1593 – 17 June 1631).

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