Jamshid Writing on a Rock

Artist: 'Abd al-Samad Shirin Qalam (active late 1530s–ca. 1600)
Calligrapher: Faqir Mir Ali
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Jahangir, painting 1587-1588, calligraphy ca.1540, borders ca.1605
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink, gold and mica on paper
H x W (overall): 42 x 26.5 cm (16 9/16 x 10 7/16 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

falconry, India, Jamshid, landscape, monkey, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, Reign of Jahangir (1605 - 1627), writing
Provenance research underway.

In this painting Jamshid, the great Iranian king and hero, is shown meditating on the brevity of life, a scene that may have come from a Bustan of the poet Sa'di, where it is often illustrated. Jamshid was a moral ideal for the rulers of Mughal India. In an inscription in the manuscript in this case, the emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) is referred to as "that king of Jamshid-like glory."

The painter Abd as-Samad was born in Iran, but came to India with the emperor Humayun in 1555 and served as director of the imperial painting workshops under the emperor of Akbar.

Published References
  • Masters of Indian Painting. Exh. cat. Zurich. vol. 1: pp. 97-110, fig. 10.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. cat. 16d, pp. 26,73, 164-7.
  • John Seyller. The Adventures of Hamza: Painting and Storytelling in Mughal India. Washington. cat. 17, p. 76.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 20F, pp. 110-1.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 65, pp. 110-111.
  • Priscilla P. Soucek. Persian Artists in Mughal India: Influence and Transformations. vol. 4 Leiden. pp. 167-171, figs. 1, 3.
  • Ali Anooshahr. The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan: Art, Architecture, Politics, Law and Literature. Mumbai, India. p. 257, fig. 9.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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