Shah Jahan Holding a Sword

Shah Jahan (1592-1666) Holding a Sword
Bikaner, 1740

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 22 x 9.7 cm
Folio: 32.5 x 18.5 cm

Inscription: (back) This is the portrait of Shah Jahan. Bahauddin son of Shehabuddin has written in his own hand. Price 150 rs.

The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is shown here in a conventional posthumous portrait. He wears a white jama with a fur-trimmed and gold embroidered overcoat, a floral brocade patka and slippers. His talwar is balanced over his shoulder as he gazes out into the distance. The artist has enlivened the picture with a series of swirling clouds against an indigo blue background with a gold sun peeking out over the horizon. He has also chosen to paint a colorful floral design on the inner yellow rule. One can sense the displeasure in Shah Jahan’s eyes as he examines the second rate work. He is known to have favored floral decorative elements and his artists specialized in exquisite floral design best exemplified by the pietra dura work of the Taj Mahal and the Red Forts Diwan-i-Khas and the floral borders of the so-called Late Shah Jahan album.