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The ‘Padshahnama’ (‘Book of Emperors’) of Abd al-Hamid Lahori


The Padshahnama (‘Book of Emperors’) is a chronicle commissioned by the fifth Mughal emperor Shah-Jahan (r. 1628–58). The text is a propagandist celebration of his reign and his dynasty. Several copies of the Padshahnama were written during Shah-Jahan’s lifetime but this manuscript is unique, being the only contemporary illustrated imperial Padshahnama volume to survive.

Much of the Mughal imperial library was dispersed in the late eighteenth century and its contents sold off to provincial rulers. The Padshahnama was sent with five other volumes (including the Khamsa and Gulistan) as gifts from the ruler of Awadh to George III in 1799.