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Posthumous portrait of the first Imam (leader) of Islamic Shia Sufism, Ali ibn Abi Talib (circa 697 - 661 AD). Hyderabad, circa 1800. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 23.1 x 18.8cm
Inscription on reverse reads: 'Glorious image of His Majesty Reliever of the troubled'
Ali was the fourth caliph (successor to the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam) and the first Sufi Imam from the time of the schism between Shi'ites and Sunnis. He is also considered a Sufi saint, his humanistic concerns being for the poor, needy and suffering.
Ref: Hyderabad Caliph Ali 87-41011
All images and text © Peter Blohm