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Portrait, probably from a series depicting Mughal emperors, of Muhammed Shah [reigned 1719 - 48]. Awadh, circa early 18th century. Opaque watercolour with pricked and tooled gold on wasli. Folio 19.5 x 14.5cm; image 11.2 x 6.4cm
Paintings such as this produced at Awadh in the early 18th century benefited from the sacking of Delhi by Nadir Shah, which had resulted in the collapse of the Mughal empire. The demise of the royal court's painting workshop saw artists migrating, especially to Awadh and nearby provinces, in search of new patronage with the wealth and means to pay for their exquisitely honed skills. The rich and powerful nawabs there were keen to commission works from these feted artists and in doing so were seen to consolidate their own newly elevated status, resulting in increased demand as courtiers desired to emulate this acquisition of luxury goods, status symbols of their time just as with Modern Art today.
Ref: Awadh M'mad Shah 00023
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Images and text © Peter Blohm