Humayun, the second of the Mughal emperors, was exposed to Persian miniature painting while in exile at the Safavid court of Shah Tahmasp I. On his return to India, he brought two Persian artists with him; Abd al-Samad and Mir Sayyid Ali. Over generations of imperial patronage, Indian artists elaborated Persian techniques into the influential style of the Mughal court.
Mughal paintings were confined to book illustrations or single works meant to be kept in albums. They retained the format, setting and flat aerial perspective of Persian art, often making use of intricate decorative borders. By contrast to earlier Indian art, their subject matter was almost entirely secular. Over time, imperial artists introduced more refined naturalism, as well as European single point perspective.
The Mughal style spread to Muslim, Hindu and Sikh courts throughout India. Its golden age spanned the reigns of emperors Akbar (1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-1625) and Shah Jahan (1628-1659), its development continuing into the 18th century.