Lot 16
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19th Century

Delhi, Mughal School

Size: 27 x 20.5 in (68.6 x 52.1 cm)

The Mughals were great art patrons who created what is now known as the Mughal School of painting. Several generations of the Royal atelier created remarkable artworks which are till date difficult to emulate. The powerful dynasty had the finest painters working under them. The Mughals who drew lineage from Timur the lame as well Ghenghiz Khan were very proud of their blue blood and valour. Their love for their forefathers is evident from the important paintings in the best of museums and Royal collections which often show generations of Mughal emperors seated together.

This large and important Mughal painting is a portrait of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor. Humayun means 'the fortunate one'. He is shown seated regally on his throne against a bolster. He has a slim bearded face and wears a full-sleeved jama with rich embroidery with patches on the shoulders and wrists. His headgear is of a typical Afghan style with a feather decorating it. He wears a simple necklace and pearl earrings. He is shown holding the hilt of his regal sword. A sash is tied around his waist. A latticed balustrade can be seen behind him with treetops in the background.

He was born on twenty-fourth Zu'l Qa'dah 913 Hijra in Kabul, corresponding to 6 March, 1508. His mother, Maham Begum, Babar's third wife was the daughter of a Shia noble of Khurasan. Humayun was the eldest of four brothers. His full name was Nasir al-Din Muhammad Humayun Badshah. When Babar conquered India in 1526, Humayun distinguished himself in various engagements, including the battle of Panipat. He was also sent as a governor of Badhakshan by Babar after the battle of Khanua from which he returned ill. Babar died on 26 December 1530, nominating Humayun his successor. The date of his accession to the throne is Fourteenth of Jumada I 937 Hijra in Akbarabad which is 30 December, 1530.

Humayun made a brilliant raid on the fortress of Champaner in Gujarat. However, being young, his addiction to opium led to his laxity. Meanwhile Sher Shah, an Afghan chief, was busy consolidating himself in South Bihar. Eventually, Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah at Kanauj and chased to Lahore. Later, Humayun conquered Agra and Delhi in July 1555. He died on Eleventh Rabi I 960 Hijra, in Delhi. The duration of his reign was twenty five years, two months, five days.

This painting has a broad border; gold-speckled with Persian calligraphy seen all over, relating to the date of his birth, his accession to the throne, his full name, his date of death etc. The painting is in excellent condition. This would have been an important series of portraits of ancestors undertaken by the Mughal emperors in Delhi. It does appear that the Royal atelier at that point of time would have possessed ample portraits and paintings of their forefathers in order to paint a likeness of this quality and detail. Going by the large size, chances are that it would have occupied a prominent place within the palace premises.

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  Lot 16 of 55  

25-26 APRIL 2012

$12,000 - 16,000


Published dimensions of this Lot are those of the full paper size and not the visible size of this Lot


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