The painting, a fine work rendered using tje Mughal art idiom of the mid-17th century, represents a Sufi saint whose identity is not discernible now.

Paintings portraying Sufis were quite in vogue during the period of Jahangir who always emphasized that posterity would never know that world had once such wonderful people of great divinity if their likenesses were not preserved in lines and colours. And, hence, these paintings of rare beings.

It may be that one of these early paintings inspired the artist of this piece to restore the likeness of one such divine. The saint has been represented turning beads, the most usual aspect of a saint to portray. Colours used are soft and subdued, defining the temperament of the painted figure and the overall mood. A khankah with a grass-thatched hut, the usual vision of a Sufi's abode in early paintings, has been replaced here with a well plastered structure. Beside him lie a book, inkpot and a pair of pens suggesting that at times he resorted to writing too. The yellow colour of his costume defines the blend of Sufi and Vaishnava traditions which had begun surfacing in the 18th century itself.


  • Title: A Sufi
  • Creator: Unknown, Mughal School
  • Date: 1875/1900
  • Location: Delhi
  • Physical Dimensions: Paper, 14 X 7.5 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Mughal School
  • Type: Miniature Painting

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