Art/ Collection/ Art Object

recto: "Portrait of Prince Danyal", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Painting by Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624)
Sultan 'Ali al-Mashhadi (active late 15th–early 16th century)
Object Name:
Album leaf
recto: late 16th century; verso: ca. 1500
Attributed to India
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
H. 15 5/16 in. (38.9 cm) W. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Accession Number:
Not on view
verso: This richly illuminated folio of calligraphy features the work of the preeminent Timurid calligrapher, Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi. Patronized by the Timurid court, Mashhadi was a poet and a recognized master of the nasta'liq script. In the following poem, composed by Khwaja Salman al-Savuji, he writes:

Coil up in your own tress
And then ask how I am,
How those are whom the snare
Of your affliction broke:
You want to know how all
Those broken lovers fare–
Then ask me first, for I
Am the most broken one.

This love poem belongs to a larger tradition of mystical poetry in which the lover longs for the unattainable object of his affections. His lover's tresses ensnare him and, hopelessly caught, the poet mourns his plight.
MMA verso–Calligraphy

By Khwaja Salman [as-Savaji], may God's mercy be upon him.

Coil up in your own tress
and then ask how I am,
How those are whom the snare
of your affliction broke:
You want to know how all
those broken lovers fareThen
ask me first, for I
am the most broken one.
Jotted down [mashaqahu] by Sultan-'Ali Mashhadi

The poem contains puns on the twisted curls which arc called "broken" and are compared to snares which capture the hearts of lovers and keep them entangled. The surrounding poetry consists of two incomplete love poems which were also most probably written by Sultan-'Ali, for the one on the left contains a ligature typical of his writing.

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]

THIS EXUBERANT and luxuriant treatment of palmettes, leaves, and blossoms on delicately stemmed scrolls in gold on a blue ground is controlled by the finesse and mastery of the drawing. It is very close in brushwork, detail, and overall feeling to the border signed by Daulat (MMA fol. 7V; pl. 27 in this volume) and in all probability is by the hand of that master. These two folios evidently belonged to the same set as MMA fols. 8 and 37 (pls. 29, 30, 67, and 68 in this volume).

Marie L. Swietochowski in [Welch et al. 1987]

MMA recto–Prince Danyal

Three years younger than his brother Prince Salim (Jahangir), Prince Danyal was born in 1572, the third son of Akbar. Jahangir writes that, "As his birth took place at Ajmer in the house of one of the attendants of the blessed shrine of the revered Khwaja Mu'inuddin Chishti, whose name was Shaykh Danyal, this child was called Danyal."[1]

After Akbar's conquest of Burhanpur, Prince Danyal was left in charge of that territory, but like his brother Sultan Murad before him, he had already begun to succumb to wine. Several times admonitions were issued by Akbar on the evils of wine and the example of Sultan Murad, who had died at the age of thirty from drinking,[2] but Danyal paid no heed and "however much His Majesty restrained him from such fatal doings he, inasmuch as he had formed the habit, sacrificed himself to wine"[3] in March 1605. Of his brother's death Jahangir writes in his memoirs: "His death occurred in a peculiar way. He was very fond of guns and of hunting with the gun. He named one of his guns Yaka-o-
janaza ('the same as the bier') .... When his drinking of wine was carried to excess, and the circumstance was reported to my father, firmans of reproach were sent to the Khankhanan. Of course, he forbade it and placed cautious people to look after him properly. When the road to bring wine was completely closed, he began to weep and to importune some of his servants and said: 'Let them bring me wine in any possible way.' He said to Murshid-Quli Khan, a musketeer who was in his immediate service: 'Pour some wine into this Yaka-o-janaza and bring it to me.' That wretch, in hope of favor, undertook to do this and poured double-distilled spirit into the gun, which had long been nourished on gunpowder and the scent thereof, and brought it. The rust of the iron was dissolved by the strength of the spirit and mingled with it, and the prince no sooner drank of it than he fell down."[4]

Jahangir also says of his brother's character that he was of "exceedingly agreeable manners and appearance." He was fond of elephants, horses, and hunting and also of Hindi songs, in which language he sometimes composed poetry "which wasn't bad."[5]

Wheeler M. Thackston in [Welch et al. 1987]

Like a natural history specimen mounted for inspection, Prince Danyal–whose features suggest a weaker and coarser Jahangir–is isolated against a pale green ground. Stylistically, this portrait is one of the earliest Mughal miniatures in the Kevorkian Album, conforming in its apple-green ground and in the subject's squat but angular physique and costume[6] to those commissioned by Emperor Akbar for a portrait album "so that, those that have passed away have received new life, and those who are still alive have immortality promised them."[7]

These characterizations were the first examples of deliberately soul-searching naturalism in Islamic or Indian portraiture, intended not only to show outer appearances with the utmost verisimilitude but also to lay bare the sitters' natures. Such psychological studies were so helpful to Akbar and Jahangir in the evaluation of rivals that they encouraged artists to delve ever more deeply into the subtleties of human personality, a factor that influenced the development of Mughal painting.

In keeping with Mughal practice, this portrait was probably painted in the studio after a sketch from life. Danyal's age and the style of the painting date it to the mid-1590s, when the sitter was in his twenties and the artist but a few years older. A powerful drawing of Danyal at a later age (Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Bombay) can also be assigned to Manohar, who seems to have observed him closely. [8]

Stuart Cary Welch in [Welch et al. 1987]

THE SURROUNDING text apparently belongs to the introduction of a treatise on mu'amma (riddles). Toward the end the text was put together in the wrong sequence, and the sentence has to be untangled to make sense.

Annemarie Schimmel in [Welch et al. 1987]

THIS RECTO PORTRAIT has the margin number 52 and belongs to Group A. The border contains flowering plants in gold on a pink ground of the same liveliness and delicate brushstrokes as appear in the more abstract design in blue and gold on the verso, suggesting that the same artist–in all likelihood, Daulat–was responsible for both. There is an iris in the lower right comer with another on the inner side of the left margin, with an ipomoea (morning glory) above it and above that a primula. The inner border shows gold flower and leaf scrolls on a blue ground in a pattern of cartouches with the innermost band of cutout poetry having its own narrow guard bands containing a floral scroll. These very narrow guard bands are unusual. Once the dominant outer border format was established, the artist apparently had a certain amount of choice for the rest. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if the facing portrait, which would have been numbered 5I, was also of a member of the royal family.

An early nineteenth-century copy of this portrait was auctioned at Sotheby's on October 14, 1980, lot 189 (not illustrated but description follows original).

Marie L. Swietochowski in [Welch et al. 1987]


1. Jahangir Gurkani, Nur al-Din Muhammad. Jahangirnama: Tuzuk-i Jahangiri. Ed. Muhammad Hashim. Teheran, A.H. 1349/ A.D. 1970, p. 20. See also Abu'l-Fazl. The Akbarnama. Trans. H. Beveridge. 3 vols. Calcutta, 1897–1939. Reprint, Delhi, 1972, II, p. 543.

2. Abu'l-Fazl. Akbarnama (note 1), lII, pp. 1221, 1228.

3· Abu'l-Fazl, Akbarnama (note 1), III, p. 1254.

4· Jahangir, Jahangirnama (note 1), p. 21.

5. Jahangir, Jahangirnama (note 1), p. 21.

6. Danyal wears a transparent cotton four-pointed (chakdar) jama which went out of fashion at the imperial court toward the end of the sixteenth century.

7. Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami. The A'in-i Akbari. Trans. H. Blochmann and Col. H. S. Jarrett. 3 vols. Calcutta, 1873–94, pp. 108–109.

8. Brown, Percy. Indian Painting Under the Mughals. Oxford, 1924, pl. XXI
Signature: The Emperors' Album.
verso: Jotted down [mashaqahu] by Sultan-'Ali Mashhadi

Inscription: recto:
In Persian, along right border (in Jahangir's hand): A portrait of my late brother Danyal - it is quite like him.
In Persian, under portrait (in Jahangir's hand): Drawing by Manohar.


“By Khwaja Salman, may God’s mercy be upon him
In your curls seek and ask how I am
Ask about those broken by the snare of misfortune
Ask about all the broken ones
Then ask me first, for I am the most broken-hearted one [of them all].
Written by Sultan-‘Ali Mashhadi”

-Translated by M. Ekhtiar (E.Chardakliyska, 6/11)

Marking: recto:
Margin number '52' is inscribed in the gilt margin.
Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (in 1929; sale, Sotheby's London,December 12, 1929, no. 124, to Kevorkian); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, from 1929]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; gift and sale to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Album: Images of Mughal India," October 21, 1987–February 14, 1988, nos. 17 and 18.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sultan Ali of Mashhad, Master of Nasta'liq," January 19, 2001–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.

Sotheby's: Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures. London: Sotheby's, New York, 1929. no. 124.

Welch, Stuart Cary, Annemarie Schimmel, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Wheeler M. Thackston. The Emperors' Album: Images of Mughal India. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. nos. 17, 18, pp. 112-115, ill., verso pl. 17 (b/w); recto pl. 18 (color).

Okada, Amina. Imperial Mughal Painters: Indian Miniatures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Paris: Flammarion, 1992. p. 144, ill. fig. 166 (b/w), recto.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 70-71, ill. pl. 10 55.121.10, (

Related Objects

"Akbar Hunting with Cheetahs", Folio from an Akbarnama

Artist: Painting attributed to Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624) Date: ca. 1604 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: On view in:Not on view

Madonna and Child in a Domestic Interior

Artist: Painting by Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624) Date: early 17th century Medium: Black and colored ink and gold on paper Accession: 1970.217 On view in:Not on view

Lacquered Pen Box

Artist: Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624) Date: late 17th–early 18th century Medium: Papier-maché; painted, gilded, and lacquered Accession: 2002.416a, b On view in:Not on view

The Virgin and Child Attended by Angels

Artist: Attributed to Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624) Date: ca 1600 Medium: Brown and blue ink with gold on paper Accession: 2015.785 On view in:Not on view

"Portrait of Zamana Beg, Mahabat Khan", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Artist: Painting by Manohar (active ca. 1582–1624) Date: recto: ca. 1610; verso: ca. 1530–40 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: On view in:Not on view