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Mughal artist

The Delivery of presents for Prince Dara-Shukoh's wedding (November-December 1632) c. 1640 - 1640

Painting in opaque watercolour including metallic paints. | 33.0 x 23.0 cm (image) | RCIN 1005025.v

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  • One half of a double-page illustration depicting a procession delivering the sachiq (presents sent from the bridegroom's family to the bride) in anticipation of Mughal Prince Dara-Shukoh’s marriage to Nadira Banu Begam in December 1632.

    The wedding of Prince Dara-Shukoh, whom Shah-Jahan favoured as his successor, was performed with exceptional splendour. It was the first major celebration after the Mughal court spent over a year in mourning for Mumtaz Mahal, the Emperor's wife and the mother of the prince who had died in childbirth in 1631. Mumtaz Mahal would have organised public ceremonies but instead these were arranged by Dara-Shukoh’s sister, Jahanara. The bride was Nadira Banu Begam, Dara-Shukoh's first cousin and the daughter of Shah-Jahan's elder brother Parviz. The ceremonies began in late 1632 with the formal engagement represented by this ceremony, the delivery of the presents from the bridegroom's family to the home of the bride.

    Afzal Khan (the chief finance minister) led the march on horseback with Sadiq Khan (the Mir Bakhshi), Musavi Khan (the head comptroller) and Mir Jumla (the chief steward). They travelled along the banks of the Jumna River with the gifts are carried on men’s shoulders on trays covered with richly woven fabrics. The text records how: 'two lacs of rupees, one lac in cash and one in goods, half of which were precious gems and the other half fine textiles, were taken from the royal treasury...to the domicile of the chaste Jahan Banu Begam.' Musicians on elephants also accompanied the procession with other men carrying royal standards. Several of the figures in the foreground are splattered in turmeric, probably a reference the pre-wedding haldi tradition whereby turmeric, oil and water are applied to both the bride and groom before the ceremony.

    Previously attributed to Bishandas. The painting support has been extended at the top, right and bottom edges to enlarge the painting to fit the present borders with the addition of new figures and widespread retouching.

    Bibliography:
    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.

    Provenance

    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.

    Measurements

    33.0 x 23.0 cm (image)

    58.5 x 36.9 cm (page dimensions)

  • Category
  • Alternative title(s)

    The Delivery of presents for Prince Dara-Shikoh's wedding (November-December 1632)