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(Indian, active c. 1590–1630)
Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Page: 17.8 x 12.5 cm (7 x 4 15/16 in.)
Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.323.b
According to Akbar's court historian, the emperor ordered likenesses to be taken of the grandees of his realm. "An immense album was thus formed: those that have passed away have received a new life, and those who are still alive have immortality promised them." Akbar's son and successor, Jahangir (reigned 1605-27), continued the tradition of commissioning works of lifelike portraiture for inclusion in imperial albums. This courtier wears an opulent fur-trimmed, fringed velvet coat over his belted white tunic and striped pants-the typical Mughal dress derived from their roots among the nomadic horse-riding people of Central Asia. The artist has reveled in creating the soft textures of the facial hair, fur and fabrics. He holds a ruby-like gemstone called a spinel, which was prized among the Mughals for its talismanic properties of protection during battle.
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