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Gouache heightened with gold on paper, with sumptuously dressed prince with green halo accompanied by attendants and courtiers, facing a white robed hermit seated in front of his abode, with other guests preparing and consuming refreshments, foreground with lake containing lotus flowers and leaves and miniature birds, background with dense forest and red tinted sky, laid down on gold and polychrome decorated margin, glazed and framed.
24.2 by 16.7 cm.
Dara Shikoh (1615-1659) was the eldest and favourite son of Shah Jahan, who ultimately was defeated in the wars of succession by his brother Aurangzeb. Dara Shikoh was intensely interested in spiritual matters of both Hindu and Islamic origins. Eventually he was executed as a heretic by Aurangzeb. (E. Kostioukovitch (ed.), The St. Petersburg Muraqqa’, Milan, 1996, pl. 49-50). Dara Shikoh remained a popular figure for many years after his death. This miniature, though much later, shares many qualities with a miniature in the St. Petersburg Muraqqa’, which also features a representation of Dara Shikoh, (op. cit., pl. 4, Fl. 16 recto).