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Princess and attendant in trompe l’oeil window

December 31, 1764
Shah Alam II 1759–1806

Princess and attendant in trompe l’oeil window



Princess and attendant in trompe l’oeil window c. 1765 Aqil Khan (Indian, active mid-1700s) India, Provincial Mughal, Lucknow, 18th century Opaque watercolor and gold on paper Image: 12.5 x 7.8 cm (4 15/16 x 3 1/16 in.); Overall: 44 x 31.6 cm (17 5/16 x 12 7/16 in.) Gift of George P. Bickford 1955.297 DID YOU KNOW? Unlike in portraits of the emperor, women sit on the outside of the royal window. DESCRIPTION Although unidentifiable by inscription or individualized portrait features, the seated figure can be recognized as a powerful royal woman, the model for whom might be the mother or wife of Muhammad Shah, the last Mughal emperor able to fully support the arts at the imperial court. The halo of light comes from the sky, indicating divine light behind her, rather than being generated from her. A golden window shade has been rolled up to reveal the princess, with her attendant holding royal emblems of honor: the white cloth and the peacock-feather whisk. The carpet draped over the sill echoes that of the balcony rail where the emperor traditionally showed himself to the people. Rather than taking the view of an outsider, the viewer looks from inside the palace out to the women on the terrace and the wooded landscape beyond. EXHIBITION HISTORY Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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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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