New Delhi: A life-size portrait of Mughal emperor Jahangir, dating back to the 17th century, has become the most expensive painting to go under the hammer at Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale in London on Tuesday, fetching 1.4 million pounds.
The unique painting of Jahangir, who ruled India from 1605-1627, is attributed to the Mughal artist Abul Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman or “wonder of the age”.
Previously shown in the National Portrait Gallery in an exhibition on the Indian Portrait in 2010, the emperor is shown seated on a gold decorated throne holding a globe, wearing elaborate robes and jewellery.
The prized portrait is painted in watercolour and gold on a cotton canvas. He is seated on an English-style chair, with a halo around his head and holding a globe in his right hand. This alludes to his name, Nur al-Din (`Light of the Faith`) and to the name in which he took the throne, Jahangir, meaning `world-seizer`.
Talking to a daily, Alice Bailey, head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams said, “This is one of the rarest 17th century painting ever to come to auction.” The auction house said the buyer of Jahangir painting was a Middle Eastern museum.