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Portrait

Painted in late Safavid Iran, this portrait is an excellent example of how albums circulated between royal courts as tokens of cultural legitimacy. Such objects were often altered as they travelled between owners.

Here, the naturalistic floral borders were taken from a royal Mughal album made for Shah Jahan around 1640-50. This image was later in the possession of Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar, the Persian monarch, who had it rebound in the late 19th century.

The artist of this work, Ali Quli Jabbadar, was part of a generation of late Safavid artists who used European motifs and techniques extensively in their artwork. While Ali Quli was influenced by both European and Mughal painting at the beginning of his career during the reign of Shah Abbas II (r. 1642 –1666), his later style became increasingly Persianised, stylised, and two-dimensional in composition.

Artist: Ali Quli Jabbadar
Safavid Iran (Isfahan), mid to late 17th century
Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper
MIA.2014.453

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