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Dara Shikoh with his consort

June 30, 1633
Shah Jahan 1627–1658




Gazing deeply into one another’s eyes, and attended by tactful servant girls and a musician, a loving couple enjoys the cool of dusk, a favorite time in India. The prime is Shah Shuja, second son of Shah Jahan, who was born in 1616 at Ajmer. In 1633, he married the daughter of Mirza Rustam Safari, a great courtier and wit who was related to the royal house of Iran. As a child, Shah Shuja was loved by Nur Jahan and his grandfather, Jahangir, near whom he stands in Plate 17. He grew up pampered at the imperial court, but while lie was a beautiful child, portraits of him at fifteen in the Shah Jahan-nama and elsewhere look prematurely middle-aged. In this portrait, which must have been painted at the time of the prince’s marriage, Bal Chand emphasized the couple’s inner sweetness at a tender moment. Underscoring their physical shortcomings, it is one of the most movingly romantic of Mughal miniatures. As usual in his courtly style, Bal Chand balances the gem-like hardness of textile patterns, wine cups, and symbolically interwoven trees with soft passages, such as the gently moving river and distant architecture. Like the Taj Mahal, this picture celebrates the purity of white, as in the subtle placing of the prince’s white shirt and pajameh against a carpet of white arabesque. In the foreground, freely scattered white flower', counterpoint the geometry of rectangles and auspicious swastikas. Unwilling to mar his picture with disturbing realities, the aitist chopped off two of the four poles supporting the canopy. Although intelligent, active, and effective by nature, Shah Shuja was softened by life in Bengal, where he was appointed governor in 1639. He was no match for his younger brother Aurangzeb in the wars of succession that began during Shah Jahan’sillness in 1657. In 1659, Aurangzeb defeated Shah Shuja at the battle of Khajwa, near Allahabad. With his family, he fled to Bengal, and sought refuge in Arakan. Some claim that he was murdered there, after which his wife and daughters committed suicide. " Attributed to: Balchand (Indian, active about 1600–1640) Indian, Mughal Mughal period about 1633 Object Place: India MEDIUM/TECHNIQUE Ink and color on paper DIMENSIONS Height x width of painting: 9 x 5 5/8 in. (22.8 x 14.3 cm) COLLECTIONS Asia CLASSIFICATIONS Paintings PROVENANCE 1913, sold by a Mr. Arbuthnot to the MFA for Rs. 600. (Accession date: June 5, 1913)" To Read More Visit This Book Link Mughal Library

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Ismail Mazari

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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.

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