The Wedding Procession of a Mughal Prince
Wedding bells ring with this exotic painting that encapsulates the cheerful and happy procession of the wedding of a Mughal prince. The cool porcelain complexioned royal prince, appareled in a frost white jama embroidered with copper ivory motifs, enveloping his body with a thick golden waistband, coupling the outfit pecan colored churidar pajamas. He firmly holds a sharp sword in his hand as a hickory feather turban with golden designs embellishes his head. He is festooned in a valuably layered pearl opera and ear tops, as he looks over the laymen who are dressed in vibrant colors to celebrate his marriage.The young man is seated on brown elephant that is tinted black and is heavily decorated with scarlet red and golden patterned velvet saddle cloth that compliments her heavy jewelry and tiny bells that chime around her neck while her anklets ring as she walks gracefully. A gold plated heavy metal howdah sets over the elephants back, as she not only bears the weight of the prince but a driver who is dressed in a tantalizing purple jama with lovely jewels laden across him as well as a pale complexioned guard who is dressed in a tree green dress that contrasts with his lapis blue turban.The cheerful cavalcade is painted in vibrant colors with illuminative lamps, ivory green drop down umbrellas and colorful flags. The participants hold gadas and play musical tunes in celebration and elation as the sky fills with silent sparks that break in a thousand particles to produce exquisite fireworks that light up the dark background. In this beautiful scene, the prince is captured to suppress his contentment with his grim expression as he will finally be hitched with his lover. This painting is a proof of utmost love and celebration, bewitching the onlookers in its charm.
Watercolor on Paper
14" x 11"
The Mughal school of painting runs parallel to the Mughal dynasty. It came into prominence in the sixteenth century, during the reign of king Akbar. It reached its zenith under the patronage of Akbar’s grandson – king Jahangir. The reign of the latter’s successor king Shah Jahan saw its decline and finally under the unsympathetic Aurangzeb it breathed its last. Indeed, as a school of art, the duration of Mughal painting was a limited one, extending only over approximately two and a half centuries. Actually, it has often been referred to as not exactly a school, but rather an exceptionally brilliant phase in Indian art.
The roots of Mughal painting lay in Samarkand and Herat, where under the patronage of the Timurid kings, Persian art reached its apogee. Babur, a descendant of Timur, and the founder of the Mughal dynasty, speaks of a person named ‘Bihzad’ as ‘a most eminent painter’. It was with the descendants of Bihzad and the deep personal interest taken by Akbar, the grandson of king Babur, that the Mughal school of art started off with a flourish.
Regarding the aesthetics of Mughal painting, one exceptional feature is its commitment to realism or the delineation of likeness. The subjects were majorly drawn from the extremely rich and magnificent court life under the Mughals. That this was a flourishing art during Akbar’s reign is borne out by the list of more than forty painters found in a book written during his era.
However, it was under Akbar’s son Jehangir that Mughal painting gained its highest peaks. Not only portraits and hunting scenes, but also scientific studies of botany and natural history found favor with the artists under the king’s support. The Mughal painters were asked to paint unusual specimens of flora and fauna in their exact likeness. Some of these skilfully painted pictures have survived till today, narrating to us the uniqueness of those rich times.
Under the reign of Shajahan, son of Jahangir, the Mughal school of painting entered its decline. The actual treatment of the subject matter is replaced with more decorative embellishments like rich flowery borders etc. Under Shahjahan architecture scaled new peaks (Taj Mahal etc.), but painting deteriorated. Finally, with the rise of Aurangzeb, Mughal painting breathed its last.