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Portrait of Emperor Akbar Praying

April 26, 2023
Mirza Firuz Shah
Akbar 1556–1605



Title: Portrait of Emperor Akbar Praying

Date: early 17th century

Geography: Attributed to India

Medium: Ink and opaque watercolor on paper

Dimensions: Overall: H. 10 9/16 in. (26.8 cm)
                       W. 6 1/16 in. (15.4 cm)
                       Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
                       W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.160.20

Provenance: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, New York (until 1929; gifted to MMA)

This work, drawn shortly before the high point of Mughal portraiture, shows an aged emperor Akbar holding a rosary during prayer. It was commissioned soon before or after his death in 1605 and is paired with a similar portrait of his son and successor Jahangir. Although neutral tones dominate, the sash around his waist is accented in red and blue.

The underdrawings, especially visible at Akbar’s feet and legs, indicates that the artist departed from his original plan in the process of executing this portrait.

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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.

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