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Image of Portrait of Sultan Abu'l Hasan of Golconda, Standing

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Bookmark: https://collection.sdmart.org/objects-1/info/5599

Portrait of Sultan Abu'l Hasan of Golconda, Standing


Creation date: ca. 1675
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, mounted on an album page
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.491
State/Province: Telangana
Dimensions: 8 11/16 in. x 5 11/16 in. (22.1 cm x 14.45 cm)

Provenance

C.L. Naulakha, New Delhi, India ( - Janaury 20, 1969)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (Janaury 20, 1969 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

The radiant Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (r. 1672- 1687), nicknamed Tana Shah the King of Taste, swaggers in his garden sniffing a flower, a shield hoisted aloft to protect him from the sun and magnify his importance. He seems to be an amiable, happy soul, fond of sweet flowers, luscious golden textiles of many types, jewels, and very good food. Tana Shah was a famous poet in Deccani Urdu, the language of the Deccan. He is accused by contemporary Mughal historians (in his enemy Aurangzeb's camp) of debauchery and religious heresy. The grounds for the religious heresy charge might have stemmed from his wearing gold, which from Aurangzeb's orthodox Islamic point of view would have been forbidden.
Aurangzeb beseiged the fort at Golconda for 7 months in 1687 before it fell and Tana Shah was taken prisoner and confined until he died in 1704. Golconda was reduced to a province of the Mughal empire.

Power & Desire, 04/00
Sultan Abul Hasan is seen here, on a mid-morning walk stopping for a moment to take in the fragrance of a flower.
The image conveys several attributes of kingship. Abul Hasan’s divine status is suggested by a glowing halo. Brighter than the sun from which he is being shielded, the Sultan eclipses all, including the barefoot attendant, dressed in muslin and holding a parasol, who is all but crowded out of the picture. The Sultan’s presence is enlarged by layer upon layer of golden robes, jewels, and furs. As son-in-law of the reigning Sultan, he had retired from the world to follow the path of Islamic mysticism known as Sufism, when a palace coup propelled him to the throne.

October 2005
Domains of Wonder
Abu'l Hasan was known to be a man of good taste and a student of a renowned Sufi saint. Instead of the fly-whisk or parasol placed over the head-traditional signifiers of sovereignty or divinity-a decorative shield is held above the sultan. Perhaps this was the sultan's subtle attempt to confer status upon himself without offending his Mughal overlords.
In the genre of portraiture, Mughal and Deccani patrons shared an interest in naturalism. The relaxed atmosphere, gold sky, and stronger suggestion of movement, however, distinguish this portrait from its typical Mughal counterparts.
Last Updated: 9/5/2017

Exhibition

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

A Flower from Every Meadow: Indian Paintings from American Collections Asia Society Galleries , 3/21/1973 - 11/11/1973

The Mughal and Deccani Schools: Indian Miniature Painting from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd The Portland Art Association , 12/2/1973 - 3/7/1976

Myths, Monsters, Maharajas: Introducing the Binney Collection San Diego Museum of Art , 11/23/1991 - 1/26/1992

Power & Desire: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art , 4/29/2000 - 10/5/2003

Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting San Diego Museum of Art , 10/22/2005 - 1/27/2008

Visible Vaults The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/12/2016 - 00/00/00

Bibliography

This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dr. Edwin Binney, 3rd. The Mughal and Deccani Schools Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1973
Page Number: 157, 162, 166, Figure Number: 137

Mark Zebrowski. Deccani Painting Sotheby Publications. London, England, 1983
Page Number: 190, 191, 208, note 7, Figure Number: 156

Mr. Stuart Cary Welch. A Flower from Every Meadow: Asia House Gallery. New York, New York, 1973
Page Number: 13

Mr. Stuart Cary Welch and Mark Zebrowski. A Flower from Every Meadow: Asia House Gallery. New York, New York, 1973
Page Number: 132, 133

Ritu Kumar. Costumes and Textiles of Royal India Christie's Books Ltd. London, England, 1999
Page Number: 32, 33, Figure Number: 33

Markus Hattstein. Islam: Könemann Verlagsgellschaft mbH. Köln, Germany, 2000
Page Number: 613, Figure Number: 613

Power and Desire: Hong Kong Museum of Art. 2001
Page Number: cat. no. 1, Figure Number: 1

Amina Okada. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 28, 29, Figure Number: 1

Amina Okada. Pouvoir et Désir: Miniatures Indiennes, Collection Edwin Binney 3rd du San Diego Museum of Art Paris musées/Éditions Findakly. Paris/Suilly-la-Tour, France, 2002
Page Number: 84

Dr. George Michell and Mark Zebrowski. Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates Press Syndicate of the University of Ca,bridge. Cambridge, England, 1999
Page Number: 202, 204, 206, Figure Number: 151

Ellison Banks Findly. From the Courts of India: Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, Massachusetts, 1981
Page Number: 32 note 5

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Kalyan Krishna. Indian Costumes in the Collection of The Calico Museum of Textiles: Calico Museum. Ahmedabad, India, 2000
Page Number: 119, Figure Number: 34

Dr. Caron Smith. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 78, Figure Number: 78

Dr. Sonya Quintanilla. Veranda Veranda Publications Inc.. Atlanta, Georgia, September 2005-October 2005
Page Number: 108, Figure Number: 108

Brijinder Nath Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. Domains of Wonder: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2005
Page Number: 170, 171, Figure Number: 68

Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Christie's. London, England, October 7, 2008
Page Number: 237

Navina Najat Haidar and Ms. Marika Sardar. Sultans of Deccan India 1500-1700 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Yale University Press, 2015
Page Number: 245, Figure Number: cat. 141, detail pg. 196

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