"Akbar With Lion and Calf", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Artist: Painting by Govardhan (active ca. 1596–1645)

Calligrapher: Mir 'Ali Haravi (d. ca. 1550)

Object Name: Album leaf

Date: verso: ca. 1630; recto: ca. 1530–50

Geography: Attributed to India

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: H. 15 5/16 in. (38.9 cm)
W. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955

Accession Number: 55.121.10.22

Description

This posthumous portrait of Akbar incorporates the Elizabethan-derived motif of a lion and calf living in peace under the emperor’s benign rule. Govardhan, a master of psychological portraiture, has given the calf an air of meek nervousness, as expressed in its sideways glance and lowered ears, due no doubt to the proximity of the lion’s visible teeth. Cherubs above and a Netherlandish background add cosmopolitan touches in vogue at the time.

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