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Paintings > Mughal > A Royal Personage in Worship
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A Royal Personage in Worship

A Royal Personage in Worship

A Royal Personage in Worship

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Water Color painting on Old Urdu Paper

5.0" X 9.5"
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Viewed 5748 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This miniature is an excellent portrait of a saintly looking royal personage accomplishing his evening prayers. He has on his face a kind of divine glow and in his eyes deep faith in Almighty. His appearance is so saintly that one is easily led to revere him as a Sufi saint. However, with his royal paraphernalia, the lavish huge bolster woven with total gold thread, the bed inlaid with gold, rich carpets, spittoon, jar and waste-container both consisting again of gold, rich flasks, decorative flower-bases with rich fresh flowers in them his identity as a royal being can not be mistaken. Portrayed west facing and from his life-style it is obvious that the personage is a believer of Islam.

The artist has used a mauve-grey back-drop which not only defines the hour as that of the evening but also the character of the theme. The miniature thus obviously depicts the royal personage engaged in his evening prayer. Keeping in tune with Islamic colour principles the artist has chosen for his rendering mauve, lavender, Persian blue, brown, black, green, white, gold etc. but strictly no vermilion, deep red or a tint that reflected fire and the sun. The flasks painted with Persian blue, spittoon, and jar are peculiar to the Islamic life-style. Lavish use of gold, grandeur and signs of regalia scattered all around, rich costume with turban consisting totally of gold thread and the exceptional glow on the face of personage portrayed are attributes that speak of his regal status. Mughals were deeply religious though not as great adherent of Islam's ritual conventions. But some of the late Mughals are known to have been rigid adherent of prescribed Islamic modes of worship. May be, the figure painted here represented some late lesser known Mughal, a ruler or otherwise.

The area of actual portrayal is hardly a post-card size but not a hair's breadth detail has escaped notice of the artist. The folds of the cover of bolster are not only vivid and natural but also quite artistic. The shawl and the gown wave with silver ripples. The beads of rosary have been attributed a deeper tint when painted against a deep brown background but when painted against the gown of lighter tint they do not have the same tonal depth. Details of beard, features, fingers and hands, arabesques, floral designs, flowers and various other things have been drawn with microscopic finesse. Discovering a figure with such sharp details and with such small expanse against a dull background, as here, renders the painting simply excellent.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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