top of page

Humayun's Garden Party: Princess of the House of Timur & Early Mughal Painting

Mirza Firuz Shah
Humayun 1530–1556

Humayun's Garden Party: Princess of the House of Timur & Early Mughal Painting



Painting depicting a feast in a garden pavilion. A Persian style landscape with a gold sky, trees, birds and figures in the background who are preparing food and bringing it over to serve guests. The central figure seated in the pavilion is Humayun, facing him are Akbar, Janhangir and Shah Jahan (who are later additions). Just outside the pavilion to the left is Sultan Parviz and in the corresponding position on the right is Prince Khusrau. The three figures seated on the right of the pavilion are: Abu Bakr, Baisunghur and Shah Rukh. The five figures seated diagonally on the left, moving towards the pavilion are: Babur, ʿUmar Shaykh Mirza, Sultan Abu Said Mirza, Sultan Muhammad Mirza and Miran Shah. Small inscriptions appear beside each figure. Painted in gouache on cloth (cotton) Temporarily ousted from his throne by rebellious forces, Humayun spent the years 1542-45 in exile in Persia, as the guest of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp (reigned 1524-76), before reclaiming his imperial throne in Delhi. Before returning, in 1555, he recruited some of Tahmasp's artists to his service in India. Mir Sayyid cAli, one of the master-painters who accepted his invitation, arrived in Kabul in 1549. He is thought to have executed this painting. Originally, the painting probably showed Humayun relaxing in a garden pavilion, attended by guests, servants and entertainers. This was a typical subject of royal paintings in Persia. Many of the original figures wear the V-shaped turban which Humayun himself had designed, believing that the number seven (written as V in Arabic numerals) would prove lucky for him. At least fifty years later, Humayun's grandson, Emperor Jahangir (reigned 1605-27) is thought to have ordered a programme of repainting the scene, transforming it from a simple party to a grand assembly of rulers. The two rows of seated figures in the foreground, originally Humayun's guests, have each been over-painted to represent a particular Mughal or Timurid forebear. Jahangir was always keen to stress that the Mughals were descended from the Timurid dynasty. Inside the pavilion, the original figures beside Humayun were repainted as Jahangir himself, his father Akbar (reigned 1556-1605), and his son, the future Shāh Jahan. The two young men standing on either side of the pavilion are Jahangir's two other sons, Khusrau (right) and Parviz (left). Very small inscriptions on the robes of the over-painted figures ascribe them to particular painters from the group of prominent Mughal artists working in Jahangir's court. To Read More Visit This Book Link Mughal Library

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