Right-Hand Half of a Double-Page Frontispiece from the Late Shahjahan Album

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Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, ca. 1650
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper mounted on paperboard
H x W: 45 x 33 cm (17 11/16 x 13 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Detached manuscript folio

Henri Vever collection, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, Reign of Shah Jahan (1628 - 1658)
Provenance research underway.

Calligraphy has traditionally had a special status in Islamic art as the embodiment of the word of God. This page is the right half of a brilliantly illuminated double-page frontispiece from a deluxe imperial album. A myriad of tiny floral motifs provides a weblike matrix for the design of the borders surrounding the text, which reads:

O God, if you do not shepherd me, I am lost; if you shepherd me, then I cannot go astray. O God, if I make a mistake out of ignorance, I implore you [for forgiveness] even before it has vexed anyone.

Published References
  • Envisioning an Imperial Mughal Album; The Late Shah Jahan Album (assembled c. 1650-58): Muraqqa Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library. .
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 21B, p. 114.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 331, pp. 278-279.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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