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This painting shows the importance of art to dynastic legitimacy in its depiction of the Persian ruler Shah Isma’il Safavi, standing under a yellow parasol symbolic of imperial status, surrounded by six of his descendants. Interestingly, the painting was made at the Mughal court and owned by the Mughal rulers, suggesting that possessing a depiction of a rival dynasty was a means of exercising symbolic political influence over them.

Calligrapher: Shah Qasim
Mughal India, 17th century
Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper
MIA.2013.109

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