A Virtuous Woman Placates the King by Plucking Out Her Eyes

Amir Khusrow1597-1598 (Mughal)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

This illustration from Walters manuscript W.624 depicts the 20th maqala (discourse), which emphasizes female virtue. The king relentlessly pursues the female protagonist, claiming that he cannot resist her beautiful eyes. To escape his amorous advances, the woman plucks out her eyes and sends them to him. She thus chooses virtue over all else, even her ability to see.


  • Title: A Virtuous Woman Placates the King by Plucking Out Her Eyes
  • Creator Lifespan: 1253/1340
  • Date Created: 1597-1598 (Mughal)
  • Physical Dimensions: w19 x h28.5 cm
  • Type: illuminated manuscripts; folios (leaves)
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: ink and pigments on laid paper
  • Provenance: Muhammad Zaki, 1241 AH/AD 1825-1826 [mode of acquisition unknown] [oval seal, fols. 1a, 211a]; 'abd al-raji Muhammad Shafi', 1247 AH/AD 1831-1832 [mode of acquisition unknown] [rectangular seal fols. 1a, 211a]; Muhammad 'Ali [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [large oval seal with no date on fol. 211a]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Lahore, Pakistan (?)
  • ExhibitionHistory: Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Emperor Akbar's Illustrated "Khamsa," 1597-1598. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2005-2006
  • Author: Amir Khusraw Dihlavi

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