Oval portrait of a woman in a Chaghtai hat

Oval portrait of a woman in a Chaghtai hat

c. 1740-50

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Overall: 9.5 x 7.4 cm (3 3/4 x 2 15/16 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1920.1967


Did you know?

She holds a delicate jade cup of the type for which the Mughals were famous.


The tall, flat-topped hat is an element of the native dress of the Mughals from eastern Uzbekistan. Of mixed Turkic and Mongol ethnicities, they spoke a Turkic language known as Chaghatai. Chaghatai refers to the name of the son of the Mongol Chingiz (Genghis) Khan, who ruled this area of Central Asia from 1246 to 1282.

This woman’s hat has been studded with jewels and strings of pearls. The portrait jewel format that was once reserved for the emperor has now been expanded to include ladies of the court. The woman holds a jade wine cup and wears a draped upper garment with a woven or embroidered border similar to the fragment on display at the left.

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