Jahangir's portrait fetches Rs 10 cr

The 17th century portrait painted in gold and watercolour on white canvas and portraying Jahangir seated on a gold decorated throne holding a globe, wearing elaborate robes and jewellery went under the hammer at the Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale.

“This is one of the rarest and most desirable 17th century paintings ever to come to auction. There is no other work of its kind known and its importance cannot be underestimated,” said Alice Bailey, Head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams.

The artwork has been bought by a museum in the Midde East. “The extraordinary detail and complexity of the painting both fascinate and bewitch the viewer. We are honoured to have sold it,” said Bailey. It is believed that the portrait dated AH 1026/AD 1617 and painted by the artist Abul Hasan was executed while Jehangir was in Mandu in 1617.

Previously shown in the National Portrait Gallery in London in an exhibition on the Indian Portrait in 2010, the Emperor is shown decked in elaborate robes and jewellery seated on a gold European-style decorated throne holding a globe.

The picture is a political tour de force in which the Emperor lays claim to a world-wide ambition. This is achieved through its full life-size magnificence, use of precious items in its creation, and the words that accompany it,  all make his all conquering ambition plain.

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