Posted on: 16 November 2013

Portrait of Emperor Jahangir with his sons Khusraw and Parviz.

Jahangir is shown seated under a canopy giving private audience to his two sons. The emperor is surrounded by five figures comprising the two princes bearing fruit and wine, two servants and a page holding a flywhisk. The figures appear with their bodies in three-quarter view and heads in full profile. A single tree and flat green landscape with a blue sky on the horizon appear in the background. The image is entirely coloured with detailed patterning on the canopy and carpet. A dark blue border filled with a scrolling vegetal design frames the image. The border itself is emphasised further with outlines in black, white, blue and gold.Ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper.

Painted by: Manohar of Mewar
Mughal Style
Mughal dynasty
1610 AD

Curator's comments:
This formal portrait of Jahangir with his sons Khusraw and Parviz and attendants gives little indication of the true relationship between father and sons. In 1605, Khusraw was imprisoned by his father for seditious activities, and his mother commited suicide in grief at her son’s actions. Khusraw escaped, but was caught and returned to his father. Here, the two sons serve their father, offering him wine and fruit, acknowledging his authority as father and sovereign. In later life, Jahangir became addicted to wine and opium, which he consumed together from tiny enamelled gold cups.Manohar, the artist to whom this painting is attributed, is believed to have painted a similar small royal group portrait (see Canby, Princes, Poets & Paladins, cat. no. 109). This latter portrait may have originally depicted Jahangir and his sons and later been altered to show Shah Jahan and his sons. The formality of poses and setting on a veranda are the same in both paintings.

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Debauch Jehangir had double-standards. He rebelled against his dad but was pardoned, yet when this eldest son, Khusrau did the same, he chased him down & took his eyes out ! Not satisfied with his dozen wives, he chased & killed a loyal Afghan working in his army, just so he could marry the Afghan's beautiful kandhari wife, Nur Jahan. In his days of youth, much against his dad Akbar's wishes, he had a torrid affair with a slave girl, Anarkali (she finds no mention his memoirs). Opium, wine & women - that sums up Jehangir. Some contributions to art & architecture but overall this mughal king's debauchery is as colourful as his great grandson, Mohammed shah "Rangila".