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Mughal artist

The Padshahnamah : opening shamsah (sunburst) c. 1630 - c. 1655

Painting in opaque watercolour including metallic paints. | 58.0 x 36.4 cm (page dimensions) | RCIN 1005025.b

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  • Padshahnamah fol. 1r
    (plate 1)

    Visual depictions of the shamsah ('little sun') were often placed as frontispieces at the beginning of Islamic manuscripts. Their seemingly exponential structures, radiating from a central aureole, act as a visual metaphor for the unity, infinity and harmony of the Divine. This shamsah is one of two that together form the frontispiece of a seventeenth century Mughal manuscript made for Emperor Shah-Jahan.

    In order to create this complex design a geometric grid was impressed into the paper. Faint indented construction lines and compass holes are evidence of the designer's methods when drawing the outline. On top of this guide, they painted floral arabesques in varied tones of gold paint mixed with other metal pigments, and other paints including bright lapis.

    Milo Beach and Ebba Koch, King of the world : the Padshahnama, an imperial Mughal manuscript from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, 1996
    Saqib Baburi, Beyond the Akbarnamah: Padshahnamahs and Official Regnal Chronography for Shah-Jahan Padshah (r. 1037/1628-1068/1658), 2010.


    Illustration from a Padshahnamah manuscript formerly in the Mughal imperial library and acquired by Asaf al-Dawlah, Nawab of Awadh, c.1780-90; presented by Saadat Ali Khan, Nawab of Awadh, to George III via Lord Teignmouth in June 1799.

  • Medium and techniques

    Painting in opaque watercolour including metallic paints.


    58.0 x 36.4 cm (page dimensions)

    46.1 x 28.6 cm (panel)

  • Category
  • Place of Production


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