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"Portrait of Shaikh Hasan Chishti", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Object Name:
Album leaf
recto and verso: early 19th century
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
H. 15 1/8 in. (38. 4 cm) W. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Accession Number:
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: recto:
    In Persian, in nasta'liq, in upper left: This bird is called buqalamum. Work of the servant of the palace Mansur Jahangir-shahi. 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.

  • Provenance

    Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (in 1929; sale, Sotheby's London,December 12, 1929, to Kevorkian); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, from 1929]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; gift and sale to MMA]

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History