(Indian, active 1598-c.1650)
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Page: 36.7 x 25.4 cm (14 7/16 x 10 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 2013.328
The finest fabric was the most transparent, like the Emperor’s New Clothes.
This page came from an imperial album assembled for Shah Jahan toward the end of his reign. Only portraits of the emperors have angels hovering with a crown in the top border along with the predator peacefully paired with his prey below. Shah Jahan chose to link these symbols of peace and justice with divine sanction for his rule, as indicated by the light of the sun and moon behind his head. Royal retainers carry emblems of sovereignty in the left border. Imperial Mughal painting reached a pinnacle of refinement and formality under Shah Jahan. The artists reveal astonishing skill in their ability to render the subtle texture of the feather in his turban crest, the gleam of every jewel, the softness of his beard, and the delicacy of his costly translucent muslin robe. In his hand Shah Jahan holds a ruby-like gemstone called a spinel, prized among the Mughals for its talismanic properties of protection during battle.
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