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MSS 1026, full album page
MSS 1026, full album page

Court Lady with a Narcissus

MSS 1026

Mughal India

circa 1630

MSS 1026, full album page
MSS 1026, detail
MSS 1026, detail

Court Lady with a Narcissus

MSS 1026

Mughal India

circa 1630

opaque watercolour and gold on paper

8.6 x 20.7cm (page); 14.4 x 9.7cm (painting)

Though a single woman holding a spray of flowers became something of a cliché during Shah Jahan’s reign, this is one of the early extant examples of the genre. The drawing style, the slight awkwardness of the figure – notable in the way the left arm is positioned, the firm and distinctive line of the profile as well as the subtlety with which the attire is painted, all suggest  a comparatively early date of around 1630 for the work 

The artist has planned the contrasts of textures skillfully, juxtaposing the filmy veil and skirt with the sparkling jewellery and the thick, heavy gold patka which hangs to the feet. He has also sensitively overlapped the pale bodice with the warm rose tone of the veil. 

L. York Leach, Paintings from India, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume VIII, London 1998, cat.29, pp.94–5.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.327, p.280.