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Pharaoh watches a serpent devour a person in the presence of the prophet Moses

Creation date: ca. 1540
Creation place: India or Iran

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.259
State/Province: Uttar Pradesh
Dimensions: 7 13/32 in. x 4 11/16 in. (18.8 cm x 11.9 cm)
Currently on view


Tandon, Secundarabad, Andhra Pradesh, India ( - )

Jagdish Mittal, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India ( - June 3, 1971)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (June 3, 1971 - August 27, 1990)

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

Label Copy

March 2005
Origins of Mughal Painting
This painting is an example of the type of less refined Persian book illustration to which artists in India would have had access as a model when commissioned to produce works for Muslim patrons. It was probably painted by an Iranian artist who was working either in one of the provincial centers of Iran or for a Muslim patron in Sultanate India. The pale ground with scattered plants, willowy figures drawn with loose delineation in three-quarter view, and the form of the demons are all stylistic features of Persian painting. This picture is typical of those created in provincial centers that were removed from the Timurid or Safavid courts of fifteenth and sixteenth century Iran.
This page is from a history of the prophets leading up to Muhammad, and, at some later date, the figure of Moses was painted over by a viewer who felt that the effulgence of the prophet was too great for him to be shown in figural form. Only the gold of his flaming aureole was allowed to remain, and it was expanded to cover his face.
Last Updated: 8/30/2022


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

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

Justin Sterling: Chapel of the Rocks The San Diego Museum of Art , 10/29/2022 - 2/12/2023


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dr. Edwin Binney, 3rd. The Mughal and Deccani Schools Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oregon, 1973
Page Number: 17, 20, 21, Figure Number: 7

Colonel Raj Kumar Tandan, M.I.E.. Indian Miniature Painting: Natesan Publishers. Bangalore, India, 1982
Page Number: 42

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