A Night Celebration of the Prophet’s Birthday from the St. Petersburg Album

Artist: Attributed to Bulaqi, son of Hoshang
Borders: Muhammad Sadiq
Patron: Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658)
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, ca. 1635; borders 1751-52
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver and gold on paper
H x W: 30.5 x 23.1 cm (12 x 9 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf with painting

India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), night, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This painting represents Shah Jahan holding a night audience for a large group of mullahs, or Muslim theologians. It may have been painted for a volume of the Padshahnama (Book of the Emperor), an official biography of the Emperor.

Shah Jahan, seated on a platform throne under a canopy on the left, is shown praying with the mullahs and the members of his Court prior to a feast. Dara Shikoh, his eldest and favorite son, sits immediately behind the Emperor. Scholars have suggested that the elaborate feast depicted in the painting took place on the occasion of the marriage of Dara Shikoh.

Published References
  • I.N. Khan Arshi. Black Taj Mahal: The Emperor's Missing Tomb. New Delhi. .
  • Chaldecott Nada. Dhurries: History, Technique, Pattern, Identification. New York. p. 13, pl. 17.
  • Ali Anooshahr. The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan: Art, Architecture, Politics, Law and Literature. Mumbai, India. p. 120, fig. 4a.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 17e, pp. 174-177.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. King of the World: The Padshahnama: An Imperial Mughal Manuscript from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. Exh. cat. London, 1997. pp. 218-219, fig. 144.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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