Gum tempera and gold on paper
Image: 19 x 11.9 cm (7 1/2 x 4 11/16 in.); Overall: 38 x 24.8 cm (14 15/16 x 9 3/4 in.); with mat: 49 x 36.3 cm (19 5/16 x 14 5/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1945.168
Asaf Khan, born in Iran, was a general and close advisor to Mughal emperors Jahangir (reigned 1605–27) and Shah Jahan (reigned 1627–58). He was also Jahangir’s brother-in-law and Shah Jahan’s father-in-law.
The figures in the borders show that Asaf Khan was both a scholar and a soldier. At the top, mullahs (learned Muslim clerics) with books gesture in discourse, while two soldiers converse at ease below. Three retainers stand at the side presenting a sword, a vase of narcissus, a bow, and arrows. He has strapped on a sheathed sword and tucked a stabbing dagger and book into his elegantly embroidered floral sash.
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