A Prince Celebrating Shab-I Barat

Mughal, Uttar Pradesh, Faizabad or Lucknow, circa 1750-75

Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper

25.5cm high, 36cm wide

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A Prince Celebrating Shab-I Barat

A prince sits regally in a European fashion and smokes a huqqa on a terrace at night. A group of ladies playing with fireworks face him, while a female attendant stands behind the nobleman holding a flask and wine cup with a saucer. The terrace setting is balanced by two marble pavilions to either side. The view in the background is on the whole symmetrical except at the far distance where the elaborate fireworks create formal tree-like shapes of gold. This painting and “A Couple Enjoying a Terrace Ambience at Night” scene have identical gold borders and appear to have come from the same muraqqa‘ or album and have similar inscriptions in devanagari script. A related painting of Zib al-Nisa Begum watching fireworks in the collection of the Islamic Art Museum in Berlin is attributed by Malini Roy to Lucknow or Faizabad, circa 1754-75, see Markel, India’s Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2010, fig. 22, p. 172. Fig. 21 by Nidha Mal in the same page displays a similar setting, a terrace with symmetrical pavilions to each side.

A Prince Celebrating Shab-I Barat


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