Muazzam Bahadur Shah I seated on a throne with a parasol

Muazzam Bahadur Shah I (1643 – 1712) seated on a throne with a parasol

by Mughal Delhi artist
dated 1853-54

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Folio: 16.75 x 12 in. (42.5 x 30 cm.)

Bahadur Shah I was the seventh Mughal emperor who ruled between 1707 and 1712 after Aurangzeb’s death. His original name was Muhammad Muazzam later titled as Shah Alam by his father. He was popularly known as Bahadur Shah.

He was a more moderate man than his father. Music and arts gained support during his rule. Bahadur Shah controlled and kept united the massive empire that his father made. After his short reign of less than 5 years, the Mughal empire entered a long decline, attributed both to his sudden death and to his father’s geographical overreaching. He may be called the last successful emperor of the Mughal dynasty.

In this portrait, Emperor Shah Alam, presented in profile, is seated on a gold and silver throne adorned with a parasol. He is wearing a simple white Jama with a golden border and holding a turban jewel in his right hand. He is shown with a white beard as he became an emperor when he was in his sixties.