(Indian, active c. 1610–30)
Gum tempera and gold on paper
Page: 29.1 x 19 cm (11 7/16 x 7 1/2 in.)
Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.313
Emperor Shah Jahan himself wrote the label inscription under the painting.
This true-to-life portrait depicts the maternal uncle of the Mughal prince Khurram (1592-1658), who would later become the emperor Shah Jahan. His clothing and accessories-especially the six-pointed wrapped tunic made of prized translucent muslin-reveal his wealth and status. The artist’s skillful brushwork conveys the varied textures of the fabrics and sensitively renders his patient, somewhat weary expression. Prince Khurram selected this painting for inclusion in an album he assembled in 1612. Suraj Singh was a Hindu prince from Marwar, a Rajput kingdom under the auspices of the Mughal empire. His sister, a Marwar princess, was the third wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. Intermarriage with Hindu families is one example of the ecumenism of the early Mughal emperors, who adhered to a liberal form of Islam. Suraj Singh died of natural causes while on a military campaign with Prince Khurram in the Deccan in 1619.
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