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From a dispersed series depicting Mughal emperors: Jahandar Shah (r. 1712-13) aflanked by attendants receives a visitor who presents him with a bird. Lucknow, circa mid-19th century. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 28.9 18.3cm
The bird being presnted looks like a young snowy egret but may be a pigeon, known to have been prized amongst Mughal emperors.
Muhiuddin Jahandar Shah (1661-1713), son of Bahadur Shah I, was emperor for only a year having disposed of his brother who had also claimed the throne. Considered weak and degenerate, the Syed Brothers effectively wrested control from him until he was defeated by his brother's son Farrukshiyar in battle near Agra. After fleeing to Delhi he was captured by his nephew who ascended the throne. Soon after the Syed Brothers had the imprisoned Jahander Shah strangled to death.
Thanks to the kindness of Tarun Pant for translating the inscription.
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Above: gilt detail reflecting light
Images and text © Peter Blohm