In Their Cups

Rare materials point to the varied territories and trade networks of Babur’s world. Quarried in Central Asia, the deep green jade of a squat, dragon-handled jug was popular across the Timurid lands. A bowl-shaped wine cup made of agate is inscribed with a poem for Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara, comparing the splashes of his wine to whorls of semiprecious stone. He holds a similar cup in a painting of his harem.

Historic Iran, present-day Afghanistan, 15th century
Lent by the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.292