Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of Mian Mir and Mulla Shah

Attributed to Muhammad Musa
Object Name:
Illustrated album leaf
ca. 1695–1705
Attributed to India, Kashmir
Watercolor on paper
Image: H. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm) W. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) Page: H. 16 5/8 in. (42.2 cm) W. 11 7/8 in. (30.2 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. Julius Hoffman, 1909
Accession Number:
Not on view
Mullah Shah was the spiritual guide of the heir apparent to the Mughal throne, Prince Dara Shikoh, and his elder sister Princess Jahanara Begum. Both were initiated by him into the Qadri Sufi order in the year 1640. An identical portrait of Mullah Shah by the same hand is in an album from Kashmir housed at the Lahore Museum. Dated 1699–1702, the name of the artist is mentioned in the album’s preface. This painting, which is inspired by an earlier portrait in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, represents the localization of an imperial Mughal style into regional schools in the late-seventeenth century Here, the three-dimensionality favored during the Jahangir and Shah Jahan periods gives way to flat blocks of color that rejects any sense of naturalistic space.
Marking: In Persian: "His Honor Mian Mir, His Honor Mulla Shah".
Dr. Julius Hoffman, New York (until 1909; gifted to MMA)
Binyon, Laurence, and Sir Thomas Walker Arnold. "Historical Introduction and Notes by T.W. Arnold." In The Court Painters of the Grand Moguls. New York: H. Milford, 1921. ill. pl. XXXIII, Portrait of the dervish Shaikh Mir Muhammad, known as Mian Mir, and Mulla Shah.

Brand, Michael. "Art and Experience in India." In The Vision of Kings. Canberra, Australia: National Gallery of Australia, 1995. no. 77, p.113, ill. p. 113, related painting in Arthur M. Sackler Gallery from ca. 1635.

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