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The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (reigned 1658-1707)
Place of Origin: Northern India
Date: approx. 1690-1700
Materials: Opaque watercolors and gold on paper
Style or Ware: Mughal
Dimensions: H. 23 1/2 in x W. 17 in, H. 59.7 cm x W. 43.2 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Elton L. Puffer
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2004.46
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Like other Mughal emperors, Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707) is recognizable through distinctive facial features that, although somewhat idealized, were conveyed in consistent style by the various artists who painted his image. The style of this portrait indicates that it was executed during his reign.

Under Aurangzeb's leadership, the Mughal empire expanded to its greatest limits, largely achieved by wars of conquest. While Aurangzeb is the last great emperor of Mughal history, both Muslim and Western historians agree that the empire had grown too large for Mughal administration. Shortly after his death, the Mughal empire ceased to be an effective force in the political life of India.

Aurangzeb has frequently been depicted as the antithesis of his liberal and secular great-grandfather, Akbar (depicted in a painting nearby to your left). He has been portrayed as a strict and austere man who alienated non- Muslims. However, recent scholarship suggests a more complicated picture. For example, like his predecessors, he often conferred land grants upon Hindu temples, and he employed many more Hindus in positions of eminence than did his father Shah Jahan.


More Information

Exhibition History: Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia (Tateuchi Gallery, September 5, 2008 - March 1, 2009)

"Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Additional Label:

In this Mughal painting, the emperor Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707) stands against a blue-green background. In typical Mughal fashion, he holds in his right hand the rose of cultural sophistication, while his left hand holds the sheathed sword of war. Often contrasted with his more open-minded great-grandfather Akbar, Aurangzeb was a rather severe and austere figure with respect to his perspective on Islam. He is depicted here with a golden nimbus, which symbolizes both luminosity and eternity.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Label:

Like other Mughal emperors, Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707) is recognizable through distinctive facial features that, although somewhat idealized, were conveyed in consistent style by the various artists who painted his image. The style of this portrait indicates that it was executed during his reign.

Under Aurangzeb's leadership, the Mughal empire expanded to its greatest limits, largely achieved by wars of conquest. While Aurangzeb is the last great emperor of Mughal history, both Muslim and Western historians agree that the empire had grown too large for Mughal administration. Shortly after his death, the Mughal empire ceased to be an effective force in the political life of India.

Aurangzeb has frequently been depicted as the antithesis of his liberal and secular great-grandfather, Akbar (depicted in a painting nearby to your left). He has been portrayed as a strict and austere man who alienated non- Muslims. However, recent scholarship suggests a more complicated picture. For example, like his predecessors, he often conferred land grants upon Hindu temples, and he employed many more Hindus in positions of eminence than did his father Shah Jahan.


Exhibition History: Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia (Tateuchi Gallery, September 5, 2008 - March 1, 2009)

"Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Expanded Label:

In this Mughal painting, the emperor Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707) stands against a blue-green background. In typical Mughal fashion, he holds in his right hand the rose of cultural sophistication, while his left hand holds the sheathed sword of war. Often contrasted with his more open-minded great-grandfather Akbar, Aurangzeb was a rather severe and austere figure with respect to his perspective on Islam. He is depicted here with a golden nimbus, which symbolizes both luminosity and eternity.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)