This portrait is believed to represent an idealised image of Begum Nur Jahan (1577–1645), the 20th and favourite wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569–1627, ruled 1605–27). The exquisite Iranian (Persian) costume and jewellery of the subject suggest nobility. In the hennaed fingertips of one hand she holds a tiny cup. In her other hand is a wine flask. Inspired by European art, oval portraits became popular in Mughal India during Jahangir’s reign.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label