According to Akbar’s court historian, the emperor ordered likenesses to be taken of the grandees of his realm. “An immense album was thus formed: those that have passed away have received a new life, and those who are still alive have immortality promised them.” Akbar’s son and successor, Jahangir (reigned 1605-27), continued the tradition of commissioning works of lifelike portraiture for inclusion in imperial albums. This courtier wears an opulent fur-trimmed, fringed velvet coat over his belted white tunic and striped pants — the typical Mughal dress derived from their roots among the nomadic horse-riding people of Central Asia. The artist has reveled in creating the soft textures of the facial hair, fur and fabrics. He holds a ruby-like gemstone called a spinel, which was prized among the Mughals for its talismanic properties of protection during battle.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art.