Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Inkpot of the Emperor Jahangir

Object Name:
dated A.H. 1028/A.D. 1618–19
Attributed to India
Nephrite, gold
H. 2-1/2 in. (6.4 cm); Diam. 3-1/4 in. (7.9 cm)
Credit Line:
The Sylmaris Collection, Gift of George Coe Graves, 1929
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
Sturdy, monumental, artfully rounded, richly adorned, and so weighty and well balanced that it could hardly be overturned, this dignified and useful inkpot can be seen as a poetic visual symbol of the empire inherited by Jahangir. If his father, Akbar, commissioned works of art as elements of a dynamic imperial vision, the son did so for delectation and spiritual nourishment. His miniatures, architecture, objects, and autobiography, the Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, reveal him as a responsible–if quirky, warm-blooded, and sometimes cruel–ruler, whose aesthetic concerns left enough time and energy for essential statecraft. Few rulers in world history match his artistic discernment or breadth of taste. He collected pictures and objects from the Islamic world and beyond: Chinese porcelains, Augsburg gilt-bronze statuettes, engravings by Dürer and the Flemish Mannerists, and Renaissance jewels as well as Persian miniatures. On coming to the throne, he released a large proportion of the imperial artists and craftsmen to feudatory courts and to the bazaar workshops, keeping only those whose work met his standards of seriousness and restraint.
Signature: Signed by Mu'min Jahangiri and dated A.H. 1028/A.D. 1618–19
Work of Mumin, the servant (or follower) of Jahangir.

Inscription: Surat-i itmam yaft az Jahangir Shah akbar Shah dar sanat 14 jalus-i Jahangiri mutabiq-i sanat 1028 Hijri [The completion of the form occured under Jahangir Shah, the great, in the 14th year from the coronation of Jahangir the just (corresponding to) the year 1028 of the Hegira (A.D. 1618–19)]

از جهانگیر شاه اکبر شاه/ در سنۀ 14 جلوس جهانگیري/ مطابق سنۀ 1028 هجري/ صورت اتمام یافت
Belongs to Jahānīr shah completed at the year 14th year of sitting on throne which it is equal to the hijri year 1028/ 1619 A.D.

On the base
عمل مؤمن جهانگیري
Made by Mū᾽min Jahangir

Lale Kashi Nath, Luchnow, India (until about 1904; to Lall); [ Ganeshi Lall& Son, Agra, India, about 1904–29; to Graves]; George Coe GravesOsterville, MA (1929; gifted to MMA)
New York. Asia Society Galleries. "Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World," January 11, 1979–March 11, 1979, no. 79.

London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "The Indian Heritage: Court life and arts under Mughal rule," April 21, 1982–August 22, 1982, no. 352.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Celestial Pen: Islamic Calligraphy," September 28, 1982–February 7, 1983, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "INDIA !," September 14, 1985, no. 122.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.

"Exhibition of Islamic Jades." Oriental Art, No. 3, vol. XII (Autumn 1966). pp. 202-203.

Skelton, Robert. "The Relations Between the Chinese and Indian Jade Carving Traditions." In The Westward Influence of the Chinese Arts from the 14th to the 18th Century, edited by William Watson. Colloquies on Art and Archaeology in Asia. 3 ed. 1972. p. 104, ill. fig. 27a.

Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1975). ill. p. 46 (b/w).

Welch, Anthony. Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979. no. 79, pp. 184-185, ill. p. 185 (b/w).

"Court Life and Arts Under Mughal Rule." The Burlington Magazine, no. 952, vol. CXXIV (July 1982). ill. fig. 79.

Skelton, Robert. The Indian Heritage, Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982. no. 352, p. 117.

Shu-ping, Teng. Catalogue of a Special Exhibition of Hindustan Jade in the National Palace Museum. 1983. ill. fig. 8.

Welch, Stuart Cary. "Art and Culture 1300–1900." In India!. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985. no. 122, p. 194, ill. (color).

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 142, ill. fig. 109 (color).

Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. (Summer 1992). p. 40, ill. fig. 49 (color).

Melikian-Chirvani, A. S. "Sa'ida-ye Gilani and the Iranian Style Jades of Hindustan." Bulletin of the Asia Institute, New Series, vol. 13 (1999). pp. 120-123, 139, ill. figs. 33, 34, 35.

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