"Portrait of Shaikh Hasan Chishti", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album
recto and verso: early 19th century
Attributed to India
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
H. 15 1/8 in. (38. 4 cm)
W. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Not on view
This portrait of a sufi is identified along the right border as being the likeness of Shaikh Mu`in al-Din Hasan Chishti (1141-1230), an important member of the Chishtiyya sufi order. Shaikh Chishti was a sufi mystic who lived in the village of Sikri near Agra. The prayers of this spiritual master are said to have cured the sick and answered a variety of needs. For this reason, the Mughal emperor Akbar went to Sikri to seek him out, and asked the great Shaikh to pray that he might be granted a male heir. Akbar vowed was that should his prayer be granted, he would establish his capital near the abode of the mystics. True to his promise, when Akbar’s son Prince Salim (Jahangir), was born one year later, Akbar’s gratitude for the divine favor led him to found a city on this holy ground. Shortly thereafter, Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory) became the primary royal residence. This was the beginning of several decades of Sufi influence on the Mughal dynasty. After Shaikh Salmin Chishti died, Akbar ordered a tomb be erected above the site of the original khanqah (sufi meeting place), which is today still a popular site for pilgrims of a variety of faiths.
Inscription: 22.214.171.124 recto: In Persian, in nasta'liq, in upper left: This bird is called buqalamum. Work of the servant of the palace Mansur Jahangir-shahi.
126.96.36.199 verso: In Persian, in nasta'liq, along the left border: Blessed likeness of Hazrat Shaikh Hasan Chishti Jahangir-shahi. In Persian, in nasta'liq, along left border: Work of the servant of the palace Bichitr.
Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (in 1929; sale, Sotheby's London,December 12, 1929, no. 115, to Kevorkian); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, from 1929]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; gift and sale to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Album: Images of Mughal India," October 21, 1987–February 14, 1988, nos. 91 and 92.
New York. Brooklyn Museum. "Light of the Sufis: an introduction to the mystical arts of Islam," June 5, 2009–September 7, 2009, no. 17.
Houston. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Light of the Sufis: an introduction to the mystical arts of Islam," May 16, 2010–August 8, 2010, no. 17.
Sotheby's: Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures. London: Sotheby's, New York, 1929. no. 115.
Dimand, Maurice S. "An Exhibit of Islamic and Indian Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n. s., vol. 14 (December 1955). p. 99, ill. (b/w).
Welch, Stuart Cary, Annemarie Schimmel, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Wheeler M. Thackston. The Emperors' Album: Images of Mughal India. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. nos. 91, 92, pp. 266-269, ill., verso pl. 91 (color); recto pl. 92 (b/w).
Akbarnia, Ladan, and Francesca Leoni. "The Mystical Arts of Islam." In Light of the Sufis. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2010. no. 17, pp. 52-53, ill. p. 53 (color).