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JAHANGIR AND HIS RETINUE. Chester Beatty Collection
JAHANGIR AND HIS RETINUE


Jahangir was depicted by his painters, some of whom accompanied him on all his journeys, in every aspect of his life. In this picture he is riding, with a cavalcade of courtiers and attendants, many mounted on horses or elephants, and is passing orders on a bound prisoner who is bowing before him. A clue to the subject is afforded by the representation, in the background, of Akbar's tomb at Sikandra, near Agra. Jahangir visited this tomb, which is still standing, at least twice, in 1608 and in 1619—the first visit being paid on foot. Probably the second visit is recorded in the miniature.
The vividly drawn scene is full of varied detail carefully observed, and the artist, whose name is not given, has used great ingenuity in including, without crowding, so many figures into a small miniature in which, moreover, the Emperor has to occupy much of his space. He has availed himself to a greater extent than usual of Western perspective to achieve his purpose, in a rather unusual composition. The point of view, however, is not quite consistent, the upper part of the picture being regarded from a higher elevation than the Emperor and the foreground. The drawing of the horses has closer verisimilitude than in most contemporary painting.
The colours of this miniature have suffered slightly from damp, but retain much of their original quality.