Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Portrait of Jadun Rai Deccani", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Painting by Hashim (active 1620–60)
Mir 'Ali Haravi (d. ca. 1550)
Object Name:
Album leaf
recto: ca. 1622; verso: ca. 1530–50
Attributed to India
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
H. 15 5/16 in. (38.9 cm)
W. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Accession Number:
Not on view verso–Calligraphy

If the moon were beautiful like you,
Smaller than a crescent were the sun!
In your time, oh friend, who has the strength
To be patient without you at length?
The servant Mir-'Ali the scribe [al-katib], may his sins be forgiven

The verses surrounding this artless composition belong to a five-verse ghazal whose author is not mentioned. As it is signed by Mir-'Ali, it may be one of his own poems.

The signature, "written by the poor 'Ali al-katib," which must have been written in the lower left corner in the original, is pasted in the center, violating the borderline.

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]

THE TALL straight stems and contrasting colors within a single flower as well as the treatment of the tulip, here at the lower left corner, identify the painter of both the recto and verso borders of this folio as the artist who was also responsible for the borders of MMA 17v, 19v, 23r, and 29v (pls. 49, 11, 16, and 25).

Here, a narcissus is found in the top and right borders and an iris and poppy in the left one.

Marie L. Swietochowski in [Welch et al. 1987] recto–Jadun Ray

INSCRIBED: (in Shahjahan's hand) shabih-i Jadun
Ray Dakkani, 'amal-i Hashim (a portrait of
Jadun Ray of the Deccan, done by Hashim)

A NOBLEMAN of the Jadwan tribe, Jadun Ray originally owed allegiance to the Nizamshah of Ahmadnagar. When Shahjahan waged his campaign in the Deccan on Jahangir's behalf in 1620 to retake the Deccani territories that had been seized by the Maratha bands under Malik 'Ambar in league with Bijapur and Golconda, Jadun Ray joined Shahjahan and allied himself with the Mughals. Thereafter ''he held the choicest [fiefs] in the Deccan, and rendered great assistance to the governors of the country, and always furthered the imperial cause; himself living in great comfort and affluence."[1]

When Shahjahan defied his father and made open rebellion from the Deccan, Jadun Ray was among the chiefs who initially supported Shahjahan; but when the prince's fortunes took a tum for the worse and he was obliged to leave Mughal territory, Jadun Ray and some others accompanied him across the Tapti River into the realm of the king of Golconda "simply because their private holdings lay on the way"[2] and thereafter abandoned the prince and joined the imperial forces against him.

In the third year of Shahjahan's reign, Jadun Ray again proved treacherous to the Mughals and rejoined his old suzerain, Nizam ul-mulk, the Nizamshah of Ahmadnagar. His end is described in the Shahjahannama: "When this ill-fated creature, with his tribe and children, severed themselves from the retinue of good fortune and joined with the Nizam ul-mulk, because faithlessness and treachery had repeatedly been done by him, the usually short-sighted Nizam had a rare display of farsightedness by desiring to have him imprisoned
in expiation. He therefore suggested to his confidants that when Jadu[n] came into his presence, he and his people should be seized and arrested. As this plan was approved, he was summoned to court and, having absolutely no knowledge of the affair, appeared in the assembly with his sons. That group then sprang from their ambush and tried to seize them, but they resisted and unsheathed their swords and began to fight. Their attempts were futile and in the end, with the onslaught of the Nizam ul-mulk's men, he and his two sons Ujla and Raghu, along with his grandson and successor Baswant Rao, were killed. When this event, which should have taken place long ago, happened, that low, contemptible one, who could have been condemned to death by any religion, paid for his odious actions."[3]

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

HASHIM's uncanny gift for biting characterization is nowhere more evident than in the profile of this smilingly treacherous opportunist. Unlike most of Hashim's other portraits of Deccani rulers and courtiers, it was probably painted from life before the artist moved north. Although the pose and outline are in Ahmadnagar style, the exquisitely finished, roundly modeled face indicates his adjustment to Mughal practice, presumably to satisfy Prince Khurram (Shahjahan). Flowers scattered helter-skelter suggest, however, that hard as Hashim tried to please his new patron, he was not yet fully aware of Mughal botanical tastes. As always in his work, even in his pre-Mughal phase, Hashim
explored the sinuous hollows of ears with sensitive perception. His treatment of hands is also noteworthy; often showing them, as here, with long, bony fingers, resting against the twiglike finials of typically Deccani sword hilts.[4]

Suspended from a chain at Jadun Ray's belt is a characteristically globular Deccani container (chunardan) for lime used in the preparation of pan–the sliced areca nut, lime paste, and spices, which are folded triangularly in a betel leaf and chewed by many Indians. Also hanging from his sash is a jeweled gold object, perhaps a fob attached to his dagger.[5]

Stuart Cary Welch in [Welch et al. 1987]

THE VERSES that surround the picture appear to be mixed up in certain places. They consist of four-line stanzas, and in every fourth line one reads "and thus in the name" with a space after these words. The enigmatic text is part of a treatise on mu'amma (riddles), and no fewer than three more Mughal pictures are surrounded by pieces from the same poem. These are V&A 137–1921 (green bird), V&A 24–1925 (portrait of Dhu'l-Fiqar), and CB 7/17(portrait of a prince reading a book). The meaning of the phrase "and thus in the name" becomes clear in V&A 16–1925v, a full page which shows that after these words a proper name was inserted with red or gold ink. In the cut-up pages, however, the name was either deleted or never filled in.

"And thus in the name" is the introduction to the following hemistichs: ''And thus in the name of Bahman ... " and ''And thus in the name of Tahir .... " The ensuing verses describe how to build a riddle around these names.

The pages that are surrounded by fragments of this riddle-poem were almost certainly not part of one set of pictures. It has been noted by Marie L. Swietochowski that their border schemes are incompatible: the present painting, with the margin number 18, has the border scheme number 13; the two V&A paintings, with the margin numbers 20 and 21, have the border scheme number 12; and the Chester Beatty portrait, with the margin number 59, has the border scheme number 2. This would seem to indicate that a number of albums were being worked on concurrently in the same studio.

A spiritual self-portrait of the painter Farrukh Beg as Saint Jerome is likewise surrounded by fragments of this riddle-poem.[6]

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]

THIS RECTO portrait has the margin number 18 and must have belonged to the same set as the leaves with the margin numbers 6 and 12 (that is, MMA fols. 3 and 29; pls. 23–26 ). The question here arises as to whether it is chance that the border numbers of these three folios, all with portraits on the recto side, were originally in an album where this border scheme of gold flowers on pink on the recto page and colored flowers on buff on the verso appeared in multiples of six, or whether it is chance that this particular set of numbered leaves survived from an album with this border scheme throughout. If the former, these pages could conceivably have been part of the albums designated 1
and 2 of Group A. Where it would appear to conflict with Album 1 at portrait pages with margin numbers 36 recto and 35 verso, it actually does not because in both sets the portrait sides have the same gold-on-pink arrangement. This number sequence also is compatible with the pair of folios designated Album 2 ( MMA fols. 1 and 2; pls. 31–34 in this volume), so theoretically albums 1, 2, and 3 (MMA fols. 3, 29, and 6; pls. 23–26, 73, and 74 in this volume) could have belonged together, although there is no firm evidence that this was the case.

The pink flowers on a gold ground on this recto page are in the same style as those on the verso. When painting in gold on a blue or pink ground, the artist usually employs a more luxuriant decorative scheme. In this border a tulip appears in the middle of the top and the bottom borders and in the lower part of the inner and outer borders. An iris is identifiable at the left middle of the outer border. An iris is also seen in the lower left corner of the picture.

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


1. 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. 1, p. 717.

2. Beni Prasad. History of Jahangir. London, 1922, p. 371.

3. Muhammad-Salih Kanbo Lahawri. 'Amal-i salih. Ed. Ghulam Yazdani. 3 vols. Calcutta, 1923–39. vol. I, p. 375.

4· It is interesting to compare this portrait brimming with life to a superbly finished but dry likeness of Muhammad-Quli Ibrahim Qutb Shah of Golconda which was painted from earlier sketches at the Mughal court for Jahangir; see Stchoukine, Ivan. La Peinture indienne a l'epoque des Grands Moghols. Paris, 1929, pl. XXX.

5. An early nineteenth-century copy of this portrait was auctioned at Sotheby's on October I4, 1980, lot 195. Although it is not illustrated,
its description is consistent with this painting. (MLS)

6. Welch, Stuart Cary, India! Art and Culture 1300–1900. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, cat. no. 147a.
Signature: verso:
In Persian, in lower rectangle of main calligraphy panel: The servant Mir 'Ali the scribe, may his sins be forgiven.
In Persian, at the lower edge of the first border: Written by the poor 'Ali al-katib.

Inscription: recto:
In Persian, at hem of robe: Portrait of Jadun Rai.
In Persian, in margin below painting (Shah Jahan's hand): A portrait of Jadun Rai Deccani. Work of Hashim.

Marking: recto:
Margin number '18' 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. "Masterpieces of Indian Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1973–April 1, 1973, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Album: Images of Mughal India," October 21, 1987–February 14, 1988, nos. 73 and 74.

"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 128, pp. 300-301, ill. p. 301 (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. 73, 74, pp. 230- 233, ill., verso pl. 73 (b/w); recto pl. 74 (b/w).

Okada, Amina. Imperial Mughal Painters: Indian Miniatures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Paris: Flammarion, 1992. p. 150, ill. fig. 174 (color), recto.

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