1630 - 1657

A Manuscript Fit for a Mughal Emperor (1530-57)

The Padshahnama (or Chronicle of the King of the World) is the official description of events during a period the Mughal emperor Shah-Jahan's reign (1628-58). The manuscript contains 44 exquisite illustrations produced by 14 court artists. They are among the finest Mughal paintings ever produced.

PADSHAHNAMA [Chronicle of the King of the World], Plate 10, by Bichitr, Commissioned by Shah-Jahan, 1630-57, Mughal Empire, (collection: Royal Collection Trust, UK)

The subject of this illustration is Shah-Jahan's accession ceremony on March 8, 1628. The artist has taken advantage of the page's format to create a vertical structure of three layers. The newly enthroned Emperor appears at the very top of the hierarchy, occupying the central position under the white marble and gold canopy.

Detail of PADSHAHMANA, Plate 10: Shah-Jahan receives his three eldest sons and Asaf Khan during his accession ceremonies (8 March 1628) (collection: Royal Collection Trust, UK)

Here he receives his three sons and Asaf Khan, his uncle-by-marriage. All four figures are shown bearing gold boxes.

Detail of Shah-Jahan's sons and Asaf Khan, PADSHAHMANA, Plate 10

The court artists excelled at portraiture, and throughout the page we can see many other likenesses of key figures at the imperial court.

Detail of Mughal courtiers' portrait likenesses in the PADSHAHMANA, Plate 10

Take a closer look with the zoom viewer here and discover how the manuscript came to the Royal Trust Collection.

Credits: All media
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