Pictured here is a Mughal prince resembling a youthful Akbar painted in the lightly colored nim-qalam (half painted) manner as employed in a number of leaves of the Chester Beatty Akbarnama. Although the present painting does not contain a confirming inscription it very closely matches other paintings from that series in subject, approximate size, stances of figures, overall composition, depiction of the rocky background and Imperial atelier quality - and was very likely executed in the same period by the same royal workshop that produced the known leaves of the Beatty Akbarnama, the majority of whose extant folios being in the British Library (MS. OR.1362) including seventeen miniatures, with a further six known in the collection of the Chester Beatty Library. Some scholars have also noted a number of missing Beatty Akbarnama folios in the sequence, of which the present painting may be one, although this may not be provable here without a corroborating inscription.
The illustration has been slightly trimmed and remounted within the borders of the Farhang-i-Jahangiri lexicon, most likely by the Parisian dealer Georges Demotte in the 1920s, as were numerous other known leaves from the series. The panel of nine lines of black and red ink nasta’liq script above the miniature being likely from the lexicon. Two slender vertical side panels have been fitted in left and right of the miniature to enable the full use of the lapis blue and gold flowered inner borders of the lexicon, as well as its full outer borders.
For the British Library folios see J.P. Losty and Roy, Mughal India Art, Culture and Empire, London, 2012 pp.70-72, figs.32-33, and N. M. Titley, Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts, London, 1977, p.69, no.207. For Chester Beatty Library folios see Linda York Leach, Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 1995, vol.1, pp.310-320.
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