Mumtaz Mahal which literally means the crowning beauty of
the palace, was the title Shahjahan had awarded to his wife
Arjumand Banu Begum after she was married to him. Her aunt
Nurjahan was the wife of Jahangir (father of Shahjahan).
Initially Nurjahan greatly favored her niece and her husband
Shahjahan. But when her daughter from a previous marriage
Ladli begum was married to another of Jahangir's sons, she
became biased against Mumtaz Mahal. Shahjahan was charged of
rebellion and he had to flee the capital city. He was given
a hot pursuit. During this phase of struggle uncertainties,
insecurity and miseries, Mumtaz Mahal was his only friendly
counsel. She bore him fourteen children and incidentally met
her death while delivering a child. When she died, she was
at Burhanpur and was hence buried there. It was only after
the Tajmahal had been built that her mortal remains were
transferred to her new abode.
In this portrait her likeness has been brought out with
great accuracy. Her large eyes, thick deep eye-brows, oval
face, large forehead, long, thick dark hair, gold-like
complexion, her typical crown are all features that her
contemporary portraits reveal.
To find his figure's form, and the rich tones of his
delicately used gold, pink and pale yellow against a similar
plain background was itself a difficult task. But the artist
has proved up to it.
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