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Page from an Album made for Jahāngīr

recto calligraphy by Mir Ali al-Husayni, Persian, died 1544–45
verso image painted by Keshav Das, Indian, active c.1570–1605
from an album of Jahāngīr, Indian, reign 1605–1627
Artist Culture
Mughal period, 1526–1858
reign of Akbar, Mughal, reigned 1556–1605
recto calligraphy first half 16th century; verso image c.1590; album c.1608–19
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Made in
India, Asia
Calligraphy, drawings & watercolors, paintings
Current Location
Not on view
image: 8 1/2 x 4 13/16 in. (21.6 x 12.2 cm)
sheet: 16 5/8 x 10 7/16 in. (42.2 x 26.5 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of J. Lionberger Davis
Public Domain
Object Number
This painting was made by the Hindu court artist Kesu Dâs, who worked for the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605). It shows the Old Testament character Joseph recounting the prophetic dream in which his family as “the sun and the moon and the eleven stars” bowed to him in reverence. The composition is adapted from a 1544 engraving by the German artist Georg Pencz (c.1500–1550) entitled, "Joseph Telling His Dream to His Father," which Jesuit missionaries disseminated in India during the mid-16th century. The scene is on the back of a sumptuously illustrated page with a poem by Mir Ali, who was famous throughout the Persian-speaking world as a calligrapher. Both painting and calligraphy were collected by Akbar’s son and successor, Jahangir (1569–1627). He ordered the pages to be assembled in a special album and given elaborate borders of scenes from a hunt by an unknown but highly skilled court artist.
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