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Title A lady offers wine to her lover
Collection Artworld: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Date 1730 CE
Description This image, rendered in greys and subtle highlights of red, yellow and blue, is delicately and intricately painted. The woman on the left, wearing a transparent veil, hands her lover a wine cup with henna painted finger tips. Her lover wears a yellow turban and rests against a large cushion. Before the couple is a tray of small bottles and glasses and different food stuffs. The background is lightly shaded behind the figures' faces and across the top of the image. It is mounted on green and brown with lines of red, gold, black and blue.
Description Source Lorna Hards
Cultural Context Indian
Id Number Current Accession 959
Location Creation Site Bharat, Delhi (?), Mughal School
Location Current Repository Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Subject visual work, painting, miniature
Measurements 187 x 244 x 1 mm
Context A young prince seated on a terrace against a cushion, is being offered a cup of wine by his mistress, who kneels beside him holding a bottle in her hand. Before them is a low table set with bottles and refreshments.
An inscription in Persian at the top of the mount identifies the prince as Dara Shikuh (1616-59), the eldest son of Shah Jahan. Although this is an idealised likeness of a prince rather than a true portrait, the identification need not be dismissed entirely. The drawing is evidently adapted from a design of the previous century when princes of the royal house were portrayed in such intimate situations. In quality, the drawing rivals works of Shah Jahan's reign but it has rightly been attributed to the reign of Muhammad Shah (Hodgkin and McInerney, 1983: pl. 4).
The Persian calligraphy on the reverse is in the form of a quatrain written diagonally in the 'nasta'liq' script, which is signed and dated by Muhammad Shafi, 27th Ramazan of the 2nd (regnal) year. There were a number of Persian scribes of this name but the mode of dating suggests that he was working in India. The quatrain in praise of God is headed 'in the Name of the Most High' and can be read as follows:

'The green sky is thy servant
Because of thee each mote is a shining sun
Through thy justice oppression has vanished
The seven climes (are) they adornment.'
Context Source Robert Skelton. In: Steven Hooper (ed.). 1997. Catalogue to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. University of East Anglia.
Rights Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich, 2002. All Rights reserved
Work Type painting



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