Firman of the Emperor Shah Jahan

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, 1657-58
Mughal School
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W: 93.4 x 49 cm (36 3/4 x 19 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Calligraphy, Document


emperor, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, Reign of Shah Jahan (1628 - 1658)

Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658), India [1]

A.C. Ardeshir, Windsor, England, and Bombay, India [2]

To 1996
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York City, to 1996

From 1996
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in 1996


[1] See Curatorial Remark 1, Massumeh Farhad, January 30, 1996, in the object record.

[2] The Ardeshir collection was moved to Britain prior to World War II (see Provenance Remark 1 in the object record).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
A. C. Ardeshir
Shah Jahan reigned 1628-1658


Imperial Mughal decrees address a variety of administrative subjects, such as issues of taxation and land rights, the appointment of officials, and the settling of a multitude of personal and formal complaints. In addition to their role as legally binding documents, these farmans served as visual and written symbols of the emperor's power and authority in the remotest corners of his vast empire.

Issued in January-February 1653, this decree regulates the grants and stipends of the district of Kutri in Mandisur, part of the province of Malwa in north central India. An impression of Shah-Jahan's seal appears on the top right. It is inscribed with the names of his ancestors beginning with Timur and is flanked by the emperor's tughra (calligraphic monogram) giving his titles.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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