PORTRAIT OF A KNEELING HOLY MAN, FROM THE PRINCE SALIM ALBUM

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June 30, 1556
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People
Akbar 1556–1605

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DESCRIPTION

Portrait of a kneeling holy man, from the Prince Salim Album
c. 1556–60; border c. 1602

attributed to Mir Sayyid Ali
(Persian, active in India, 1555–1580)

India, Mughal, 16th century

Opaque watercolor with gold on paper, laid down on an album page with cream borders decorated with gold flowers and geometric motifs

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 2013.295

DID YOU KNOW?

In this sensitive portrayal of a charlatan holy man, the eyes are pale and empty.

DESCRIPTION

One of the few surviving works that appear to have been made by an artist brought from Iran by Akbar’s father, Humayun, shortly after his arrival in Mughal India, this page was mounted into the Prince Salim Album in his breakaway court in Allahabad. The flowing lyrical contour lines, penetrating expression, and soft yet wiry texture of the beard reveal the hand of a master. The verse written above and below the painting is a quotation from a poetic sermon of the Persian author Sana’i, who lived about 1100: If it were greed that led you to acquire learning, then be afraid, For at night, a thief with a torch can take away the choicest goods! The calligraphy suggests that the kneeling figure is a charlatan holy man who wears the blue robe of a Sufi mystic and acts with humility and piety for monetary gain rather than sincerity of devotion.

INSCRIPTION

Calligraphy above and below from a Persian homiletic qasida (composite ode in verse) by Hakim Sana’i (Persian, c. 1087–1130), in nasta‘liq script: If it were greed that led you to acquire learning, then be afraid, For at night, a thief with a torch can take away the choicest goods!

PROVENANCE

Collection of Hagop Kevorkian (1872–1962), New York, before 1962

Sotheby’s, London, Highly Important Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures: The Property of the Kevorkian Foundation, 6 December 1967, lot 47

EXHIBITION HISTORY

On loan to the San Diego Museum of Art (2005)

The Cleveland Museum of Art (7/31/2016-10/23/2016) Art and Stories from Mughal India, cat. 2, p. 161.

Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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Ratings & Review

Mohmedd shareef

Thank You for Suggestion and replaced image with proper one.

Mirza Firuz

This is not the same may be one of his great grand children ???

Ss Records

4.0