Portrait of Itimad Al-dawla

Artist: Attributed to Balchand
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Jahangir, early 17th century
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W: 38.1 x 25.9 cm (15 x 10 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf with painting

flower, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, poems, portrait, Reign of Jahangir (1605 - 1627)
Provenance research underway.

Itimad Al-dawla, whose actual name was Ghiyath Beg, was originally from Iran and had served under Akbar.  Upon ascending the throne in 1905, Jahangir appointed him the head of the Treasury and gave him the honorific title, Itimad Al-dawla, which literally means "Trusted of the State." After Jahangir's marriage to his daughter, Nur Jahan, in 1611, Itimad Al-dawla became even more powerful in the court, and the affairs of the state were handled by Nur Jahan, her father, and brother, Asaf Khan.  It was Itimad Al-dawla's granddaughter, Mumtaz Mahal (the daughter of Asaf Khan) who became the beloved wife of Shah Jahan.  Itimad al-dawla died in January 1622 and was buried in a white marble mausoleum in Agra built by his daughter.

The portrait represents the subject as an elderly minister, holding a sheet of paper. Several versions of this portrait are known to exist, including an 18th century copy owned by the Freer Gallery of Art (F1907.253).  It has been suggested that this portrait is also a later copy of an original which is now lost.

The inscription on the right states that "This is a good portrait of Itimad Al-dawla, the work of Balchand." This artist was employed by Akbar and continued to work in the court under Jahangir.  Balchand's paintings appear in literary and historical manuscripts; his portraits of the emperors and the members of the court are found in imperial albums.

Published References
  • I.N. Khan Arshi. Black Taj Mahal: The Emperor's Missing Tomb. New Delhi. .
  • Sotheby's (London). Catalogues of Valuable Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, Comprising a series of very important Indian drawings by the court painters of the great Moghul emperors, Shah Jahan and Aurangzib, the property of a gentleman. London, December 12-13, 1929. cat. 126.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. pp. 190-191, figs. 36-37.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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