Portrait of Muhammad Khan Shaibani, the Uzbek (d.1510), Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Portrait of Muhammad Khan Shaibani, the Uzbek (d.1510)

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
16th century
Attributed to present-day Uzbekistan, Bukhara
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Painting: H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Page: H. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
W. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting, considered a portrait of the Shaibanid ruler Muhammad Khan, surrounds its subject with the accoutrements of culture—ink pots, pen cases, and books. Upon his conquest of the Timurid political and cultural capital of Herat in 1507, this new ruler was eager to adopt the royal protocols established at the court of his predecessor, Sultan Husain Baiqara. This portrait may reflect Muhammad Khan’s interest in presenting himself as the legitimate ruler of this great, cosmopolitan city
Inscription: Definition: Persian
Location: In panels in upper corners
Translation: Upper right panel: Portrait of Shaybeg Khan; Upper left panel: The slave Bihzad.

In Arabic language and in Nastaʻliq script
صورت شایبگ خان
العبد بهزاد
The portrait of Shaybag,
[Drawn by] the slave Bihzad .
On the left border Persian poem from Jami in Nastaʻliq script as follows:
... نور الدین عبدالرحمن جامی علیه الرحمة
گر از پیراهنت بویی به طرف گلستان آید زند گل جامه بر خود چاک و بلبل در فغان آید
بر اندام نازک چون پسندم بار پیراهن که بر روی سایۀ گلبرگ هم دانم گران آید
به حلق تشنه آب زتدگاني داني چه خوش باشد مرا تیغ جفایت بر گلو خوشتر از آن آید
…. Nur al-Din Abdul-Rahman Jami may mercy be upon him:
If a smell from your shirt comes to the rosary, the flower will slit the cloth on and the nightingale will begin to cry.
The weight of shirt on the fragile body is like a shadow on a flower's petal????, I know that it is heavy also on the shadow of the flower's petal.
Do you know that the water of life is so sweet to the thirsty [throat ], for me your persecutor’s knife on your neck is sweeter than that.

(Diwan Kamil Jami, ed. Hashim Razi, Piruz publication, Tehran, 1341/ 1363, p.329-330)

Marking: See additional card.
[ Armenag Bey Sakisian, Paris, by 1929–at least 1931]; Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1932–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 484.

The Iranian Institute. "Exhibition of Persian Art," 1940, Gal. VII, no 83A.

Venice. Fondazione Giorgio Cini. "Miniature Islamiche dal XIII al XIX Secolo," 1962, no. 55.

Musée du Louvre. "La Dynastie Safavide," October 1, 2007–January 7, 2008, no. 32.

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 484, p. 284.

Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gallery VII, Case 83A, p. 196.

Grube, Ernst J. "from Collections in the United States and Canada." In Muslim Miniature Paintings from the XIII to XIX Century. Venice: N. Pozza, 1962. no. 55, pp. 75-76, ill. pl. 55 (b/w).

Grube, Ernst J. "The Early School of Herat and its Impact on Islamic Painting of the Later 15th, the 16th and 17th Centuries." In The Classical Style in Islamic Painting. Venice: Edizioni Oriens, 1968. ill. pl. 42 (b/w).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 24-25, ill. p. 25 (b/w).

Bahari, Ebadollah, and Annemarie Schimmel. Bihzad, Master of Persian Painting. London, New York: I.B.Tauris Publishers, 1996. pp. 171-173, ill. fig. 103 (color.

Sims, Eleanor, B. Marshak, and Ernst J. Grube. "Persian Painting and its Sources." In Peerless Images. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002. p. 59, ill. fig. 70 (color).

Barry, Mike, and Stuart Cary Welch. "et l'Enigme de Behzad de Herat (1465–1535)." In L'Art Figuratif en Islam Medieval. Paris: Flammarion, 2004. p. 153, ill. p. 153 (color).

Melikian-Chirvani, Assadullah. "L'Art de l'Iran Safavide 1501–1736." In Le Chant du Monde. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2007. no. 32, pp. 208-209, ill. p. 29 (color).