top of page

A painting of royal women shooting down mangoes

December 31, 1719
Mirza Firuz Shah
Muhammad Shah 1720–1748

A painting of royal women shooting down mangoes



An excellent work of art, a miniature in the late Mughal art style of the period of Muhammad Shah, especially as it evolved at Mughals’ provincial headquarters, especially Oudh, under the rule of Nawabs, the painting represents a royal lady shooting down mangos from a mango tree. Two of her attendants, one collecting the fallen mangos in a tray, and the other, handing her the next arrow, are helping her. Graceful figures with neatly delineated sharp features, slim and tall body structures and balanced anatomy, besides the depth perspective, colours’ diffusion and shading, and fine line-work are features of Mughal art’s most glorious days. However, figures’ over gesticulation, use of exceptionally fine muslin in conceiving style of wears and the theme itself, royal ladies indulging in outdoor, or rather somewhat petty or humble activities, are certainly the things of later days. The figures of damsels, as if pasted on a marble-like finished backdrop, are unique in their pictorial appeal. The painting portrays an early hour of a summer evening somewhere around the Gangetic plains where grow mangos in abundance. The background is suggestive of a topography comprising mounds and perhaps consequential ravines that emerge after a mighty river like Ganges erodes the land around its course. Shrubs scattered far and near further affirm this character of the land. With hardly anything to be done at harem, the royal damsel is out for a pastime with two of her trusted attendants, one carrying bow and arrows, and the other, a tray. Adept in archery, she is out for trying her shots and plucking in the process also some mangos for sheer enjoyment direct from the trees by hitting them with her arrows. The maiden giving her the arrow, and the other, showing her a mango that shot by her arrow had fallen into her hands, have their eyes fixed on the royal damsel; however, she has her own eyes fixed on her target – the mangos that she has a mind to shoot. For breaking monotony, the artist has created around the centre a flowering plant with a pair of white pigeon-type birds perching on it, besides innumerable small shrubs strewn allover the background. A colourful quiver, lying close to the royal damsel and the maid giving her arrows, serves as connector between them. This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.


Rate This BookDon’t love itNot greatGoodGreatLove itRate This Book

Your content has been submitted

Post Comment
Ratings & Review
Click To Close Comment Box
Click To Post Your Comment
Show Reviews

Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

Mughal Library brings readers of our history and related subjects on one platform. our goal is to share knowledge between researchers and students in a friendly environment.


bottom of page