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"Jahangir and His Vizier, I'timad al-Daula", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Artist:
Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624)
Calligrapher:
Mir 'Ali Haravi (d. ca. 1550)
Object Name:
Album leaf
Date:
recto: ca. 1615; verso: ca. 1530–45
Geography:
Attributed to India
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
15 3/8 x 10 3/16in. (39 x 25.9cm) Mat: 19 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (48.9 x 36.2 cm) Frame: 20 1/4 x 15 1/4 in. (51.4 x 38.7 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Accession Number:
55.121.10.23
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
While Jahangir (r. 1605–27) and l'timad al-Daula (a title meaning "reliance of the state") greet each other formally in this painting, they had a warm personal relationship, for in 1611 l'timad al-Daula’s daughter had married Jahangir. By virtue of this connection, her father became the chief minister of the realm, a position he retained until his death in 1622.
55.121.10.23 verso–Calligraphy

Oh you whose absence is an ancient friend
And grief for you an old, consoling friend!
Pain for your sake is our daily guest–
A souvenir from you: scars on our breast.
The poor [faqir] Mir-'Ali

Both the upper and lower borders contain one line of Chagatay poetry; at the right and left borders are two fragments of Persian ghazals, one signed by Kamal (Khojandi), and a quatrain.

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]


THIS VERSO PAGE has a pattern in gold on a blue ground that is an identical copy of the border, signed by Daulat, of MMA fol. 7v {pl. 27 in this volume. While the present border is very fine, a close examination of the two reveals that the drawing and brushwork of the signed border are superior. It is interesting to speculate that this prolific border painter worked, perhaps, under the close supervision of Daulat. This would appear to be an odd leaf, not matching in border scheme the other folios of Group B.

Marie L. Swietochowski in [Welch et al. 1987]

55.121.10.23 recto–Jahangir and I'timaduddaula

Mirza Ghiyath Beg was a son of Khwaja Muhammad-Sharif, the chief minister of Tartar-Sultan, the Beglarbegi of Khurasan under the Safavids of Iran. When the family fell on hard times, Mirza Ghiyath Beg set out for India, as many ambitious and talented Iranians had done, to seek his fortune. After the Mirza's resources had been completely exhausted and his wife had given birth to a girl, Mihrunnisa, in Qandahar, a merchant and leader of the caravan in which they were traveling took pity on them; he gave them his protection and introduced Ghiyath Beg to Emperor Akbar at Fatehpur-Sikri. Ghiyath Beg rose in the administrative ranks, and when Jahangir ascended the throne he was awarded the title I'timaduddaula (Reliance of the State).

In I607 Mihrunnisa's husband Sher-afgan Khan was killed after having mortally wounded Qutbuddin Khan, governor of Bengal, and Mihrunnisa was placed under the care of Jahangir's mother. In 1611 she was married to Jahangir and given the title Nur-Jahan Begum. By
virtue of this connection I'timaduddaula became the chief minister of the realm, a position he retained until his death in 1622.

After the death of his father-in-law, Jahangir wrote: ''Though he had the burden of responsibility of such a kingdom on his shoulders, and it is not possible for a human being to please everyone when dealing with financial and administrative affairs, yet no one ever went to I'timaduddaula with a petition or business who returned feeling slighted or injured."[1]

Not only a brilliant administrator and royal adviser, I'timaduddaula was an even-tempered, pleasant, and fair man "who did not cherish hatred even against his enemies."[2] His grief over the death of his wife in his old age caused the emperor to observe that "he maintained the best interests of the state and loyalty to his master, and also kept those in need happy and hopeful. In truth this was his own special style, but from the day his consort went to her eternal reward he lost all interest in himself and from day to day withered away. Although externally he never ceased to manage the affairs of state and administration, inwardly he burned with the fires of loneliness until, after three
months and twenty days, he passed away."[3]

Wheeler M. Taxton in [Welch et al. 1987]

DIGNIFIED AND SERIOUS, the emperor and his father-in-law face one another in respectful silence, as though to demonstrate the increasing formality of the Mughal court. When he commissioned this double portrait, the connoisseurly Jahangir must have been aware of Manohar's unique gift for recording objects. Every sparkling jewel, glint of chased gold, and shimmering textile–from the folkloristic tie-and-dye patka to the sumptuous embroideries and brocades–have been rendered in what amounts to a definitive catalogue of these ambulatory imperial treasures–in striking contrast to l'timaduddaula's spartan jewellessness.

Every wrinkle and curl is scrupulously limned, but the isolation of each man reveals the flaw in Manohar's artistic personality. However, if his group portraits offer ranks of specimens sealed in bell jars, his portrayals of individuals can be penetrating. This is particularly apparent
in his many uncompromising characterizations of Jahangir, which detail the development of every wrinkle and jowl and provide a clinical dossier of imperial progress from sturdy youthfulness to slightly crapulous middle age.

The son of the renowned painter Basawan, Manohar grew up in the imperial workshops, where his style kept pace with the swiftly changing imperial manner. A superb craftsman, punctilious portraitist and animalier, and inventive designer of textiles, he contributed to most of the major manuscripts and albums from the 1580s into the 1620s. Although this self-effacing painter observed the emperor day-by-day and painted several profound portraits of him, he is not mentioned in Jahangir's Tuzuk. Unlike Abu'l-Hasan, he was not blessed with the innovative creative sparkle found in Jahangir's foremost painters. In compensation, Manohar stands out as a humble, painterly artist whose arabesques and drapery cavort and ripple with released vitality and express the joy he found in his work.[4]

Stuart Cary Welch in [Welch et al. 1987]

THE UPPER and lower levels contain three verses appropriate for the subject; each expresses blessings for "the fortunate ruler" and the "shadow of God" in the hazaj meter.

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]

THIS PORTRAIT belongs to Group B. It has the margin number 37 in the right margin; the number 13 is written in the lower margin with a second 13 in the upper border above the left comer of the painting. This would suggest that it was originally intended as the thirteenth folio of an album and later became the thirty-seventh folio of another album. Cutout calligraphy appears at the top and bottom inside the inner border
which contains a palmette, flower-head, and arabesque scroll in gold on blue within cartouches. The outer border has colored flowers on a buff ground with a tulip in the lower right comer and possibly a peony next to it. The plant second from the left in the lower border has stylized narcissus flowers with incorrect leaves, appears to have also created the borders for fols. 6v, 17v, 19v, and 29v (pls. 73, 49, 11, and 25 in this volume).

Another leaf of the Kevorkian Album is a nineteenth-century portrait of l'timaduddaula in a pose very similar to this but in a different costume (FGA 48.20b; pl. 83 in this volume). That painting also has a gold-on-blue inner border within cartouches and an outer border of colored flowers on a buff ground. Its recto calligraphy page has gold flowers on a blue ground. There is a nervous quality to the drawing not found in seventeenth-century borders.

Marie L. Swietochowski in [Welch et al. 1987]

Footnotes:

1. Jahangir Gurkani, Nur al-Din Muhammad. Jahangirnama: Tuzuk-i Jahangiri. Ed. Muhammad Hashim. Teheran, A.H. 1349/ A.D. 1970, p. 386.

2. Shahnawaz Khan, Samsam al-Dawla, and 'Abd al-Hayy. Maasiru-l-umara; Being Biographies of the Muhammadan and Hindu Officers of the Timurid Sovereigns of India from 1500 to About 1780 A.D. Trans. H. Beveridge. Rev. ed. Calcutta, 1941–52, vol. I, p. 1076.

3. Jahangir 1970 (note 1), p. 386.

4· For other penetrating yet stately portraits of Emperor Jahangir attributable to Manohar, see Welch, Stuart Cary, India! Art and Culture 1300–1900. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, nos. 115 and 118. Glenn Lowry's discussion of Manohar, with a list of pictures, is in Beach, Milo Cleveland. The Grand Mogul: Imperial Painting in India, 1600–1660. Williamstown, Mass., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1978, pp. 130–37.
Signature: 55.121.10.23 verso:
In Persian, in lower left corner triangle: The poor Mir 'Ali.

Inscription: 55.121.10.23 recto:
In Persian, in upper right corner under canopy: Shah Jahangir.
In Persian, under carpet: Manohar, slave of the court.
In Persian, on paper: God is the greatest. Nur-ud-din Jahangir, son of Akbar Shah, is Padshah in form and essence through the grace of God.

In Persian and Nastaʻliq script on a piece of paper held by the vizier:
الله اکبر/ پادشاه صورت / و معنیست ز .../ شاه نور الدین/ جهانگیر ابن اکبر شاه

In Persian and Nastaʻliq script below carpet and in the upper right-hand corner under the canopy:
منوهربندۀ/ شاه چهانگیر
Manūhir the slave of Jahāngīr the king

Persian poem in Nastaʻliq script of the story در مدح سلطاني (In eulogy of Sulṭān) from اورنگ پنجم، یوسف و زلیخا (Fifth throne, Yūsuf and Zulaykhā):
چو برق آنجا که قهرش بر فروزد به یک شعله جهاني را بسوزد
خداوندا به پیران جوانبخت که تا هست آسمان چتر و زمین تخت
به زیر پاي تخت شاهیش دار به تارک چتر ظل اللهیش دار

(The poem are from Jamī, Haft ᾽Awrang, ed. ᾽Aqā Murtażā Mudarris Gīlānī, Sa‘dī publications, Tehran, 3rd ed.,1361/1983, p.591).

A.Ghouchani

Marking: 55.121.10.23 recto:
Margin number '37' is inscribed in the gilt margin.
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]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Album: Images of Mughal India," October 21, 1987–February 14, 1988, nos. 15 and 16.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sultan Ali of Mashhad, Master of Nasta'liq," January 19, 2001–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.

Memoirs of Jahangir. London, 1829. pp. 26-27.

Dimand, Maurice S. "An Exhibit of Islamic and Indian Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n. s., vol. 14 (December 1955). p. 96, 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. 15, 16, pp. 108-111, ill., verso pl. 15 (b/w); recto pl. 16 (color).

Okada, Amina. Imperial Mughal Painters: Indian Miniatures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Paris: Flammarion, 1992. p. 146, ill. fig. 170 (color), recto.



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