Sultan Khurram (Shah Jahan)

Tinted drawing; Sultan Khurram (Shah Jahan).

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, ca. 1615
Mughal School
Ink on paper
H x W: 11.1 x 7.3 cm (4 3/8 x 2 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


emperor, Henri Vever collection, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), portrait, prince, shah

From at least 1913
Léonce Rosenberg (1879-1947), Paris, from at least 1913 [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]


[1] The object is documented as having appeared in the collection of Léonce Rosenberg by at least June 6, 1913. 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. 411.

[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), p. 320, no. 373.

[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) and Custodian(s)

Henri Vever 1854-1942
Léonce Rosenberg 1879-1947
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003


Tinted drawing; Sultan Khurram (Shah Jahan).


This sensitively drawn likeness provides a rare glimpse into the artistic process of the Mughal court. In the seventeenth century, the nobility of the vast Mughal Empire was represented only in impassive profile views; thus the careful rendering of the profile's contour became especially important.

Working with a fine brush and ink, the artist drew Prince Khurram (1592-1666) from life on a small scrap of paper. He began with careful small strokes, pointing his squirrel-hair brush by drawing it along the paper in small curlicues (visible to the portrait's right), and correcting and strengthening the contours of the young man's profile as he proceeded. His judicious use of red conveys a sense of life. The white painted line adjacent to the profile's firm contour covers the artist's preparatory marks. Such intimate personal studies served as visual aids in the production of finished paintings.

Published References
  • 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. 373, p. 320.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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