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.