Shah Jahan in his Durbar

This image, by an unknown Mughal artist, features Shah Jahan (formerly Prince Khurram). Shah Jahan's reign (1628-58) saw the Mughal empire at the height of its prosperity, having absorbed the rich commercial provinces of Gujarat and Bengal.

In the detail reproduced here, Shah Jahan is seen holding a durbar (ceremonial assembly) in the public audience hall (also known as a durbar) of his royal palace. The ruby and the tray of jewels indicate his wealth, while his 'halo' symbolises the special enlightenment given to emperors.

Some 20 years earlier, in 1631, Shah Jahan had begun the construction of the Taj Mahal, in Agra, as a tomb for his favourite wife.

British Library (India Office) Add. Or 3853 (c. 1650)
By permission of The British Library



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