Sultan and Musicians

Sultan and Musicians

c. 1650

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 16.9 x 20.4 cm (6 5/8 x 8 1/16 in.); Border: 20.3 x 23.6 cm (8 x 9 5/16 in.)

Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski 2012.300

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Description

A figure dressed in austere garments with a rosary before him listens to music while smoking a hookah. The peacock-feather whisk held by an attendant standing behind him is an emblem of his royal status. He listens intently to the percussionists and two singers with open mouths, who may be performing a work by a mystic of the Sufi branch of Islam, given the essential role of music in Sufism and the pious mood of the all-male gathering. Portraits from this southern region, known as the Deccan, are marked by subtle delicacy and sensitive realism.

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