I’tibar Khan

I’tibar Khan (d.1623)
Mughal, 1610-15

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 11.5 x 6 cm

Inscription: I’tibar Khan (under I’tibar Khans feet)

The subject of this portrait, I’tibar Khan, is mentioned several times in Jahangir’s memoirs. In his youth, he was in the service of Bahadur Khan (also known as Baz Bahadur, the last sultan of Malwa). After Akbar defeated the Malwa sultan in 1562, I’tibar entered his service. He was appointed governor of Gwalior in 1607 and Agra in 1623. He defended Agra fort from the rebellious prince Khurram in 1622-23. After his defense of Agra, Jahangir gave him the title Mumtaz Khan and a mansab of 6000 zat and 5000 sawar. Upon his death, Jahangir wrote this of him in his memoirs:

On the sixteenth (December 28) it was reported that Mumtaz Khan the governor of Agra, had passed away. He had first been with Bahadur Khan the brother of Khan Zaman. After they were killed, he joined my exalted father’s service. When I was born His Majesty gave him to me to be the supervisor of my establishment. He served me continuously for fifty-six years loyally, compassionately, and pleasingly. Not once was I ever vexed by him, and the obligations owed him for his service are more than can be written. May God have mercy upon him.

I’tibar Khan appears in several of Jahangir’s durbar scenes and in durbar scenes of Jahangir’s court that were produced posthumously in Shah Jahan’s atelier for the Padshahnama. A splendid, posthumous portrait of I’tibar Khan by Bichitr1 is housed in the Musée Guimet. I’tibar Khan built a mosque in Agra for the Sufi saint Khwajah Kafur, which still stands today.

1. See Amina Okada, Indian Miniatures of the Mughal Court, Pg. 165. Fig. 197.