Akbar with a Sarpech, from the Late Shahjahan Album

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, ca. 1650
Movement
Mughal Court
School
Mughal School
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper, mounted on paperboard
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 37 x 25.3 cm (14 9/16 x 9 15/16 in) H x W (image): 24.2 x 15.6 cm (9 1/2 x 6 1/8 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Henri Vever collection
Accession Number
S1986.402
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
angel, courtier, crane, Henri Vever collection, India, landscape, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), Reign of Shah Jahan (1628 - 1658), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From at least 1910
George Demotte (1877-1923), Paris, from at least 1910 [1]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France, to 1942 [2]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France [3]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France [4]

Notes:

[1] The object is documented as having appeared in the collection of Georges Demotte by at least January 1910. See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 410.

[2] See Glenn D. Lowry et al., An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), pp. 280-282, no. 334.

[3] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Henri Vever 1854 - 1942
Francois Mautin French, born 1907

Label

This posthumous portrait of the third Mughal emperor, Akbar (reigned 1556-1605), was commissioned by his grandson Shahjahan (reigned 1628-58). Its realistic details reflect the continuing impact of the European pictorial tradition on imperial Mughal painting during Shahjahan's reign. Although this is a formal state portrait intended to glorify Akbar, the sensitive rendition of the subject's mood and age clearly demonstrates the artist's interest in character exploration.

A man of great energy, Akbar, like his father, Humayun, employed numbers or artists and architects to create for his court great buildings and fine libraries of illustrated books, status symbols in the Islamic world. Here, Akbar holds a jeweled turban ornament called a "sarpech," an emblem of royal power; similar to the one displayed to the right.

Published References
  • Fredrik Robert Martin. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century. 2 vols., London. pl. 213.
  • Thomas W. Lentz. Pictures for the Islamic Book: Persian and Indian Painting in the Vever Collection. vol. 1, no. 4 New York, Fall 1988. p. 33, fig. 15.
  • Akbar: The Great Emperor of India. Exh. cat. Italy. p. 95, fig. 16.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 21E, p. 116.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 334, pp. 280, 282.
  • Rene Grousset. The Civilizations of the East. 4 vols., New York and London, 1931-1934. p. 311, fig. 196.
  • Abolala Soudavar Milo Cleveland Beach. Art of the Persian Court: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection. New York. p. 362.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum