The Mysterious Portrait of Jahangir

This paper will analyze one of the mysterious portraits of the great Mughal emperor Jahangir. In this portrait Jahangir is shooting a black person’s head most probability one his enemies. Though in Art History class we learn that Jahangir always emphasizes on real portraits, despite that strange representation of different creatures are present in this art work to illustrate the magnificent power and mightiness of Jahangir. Everything in this portrait is plain and easy to recognize, but there representation is atypical and things are out of their usual place. Portrait of Jahangir is in the center of the frame and it is characterize elaborately with the use of vivid colors, luxurious dress, precious jewelries and very sophisticated crown on his head. The majestic power is illustrated by his enormous size and his arrogance is demonstrated very ornately by representing the earth and its creatures under his feet. This portrait not only represents the potency and supremacy of Jahangir but it also demonstrates his righteous and God’s blessing on him to defeat his enemies.

There is a magnificent frame work done by the artist to enhance the beauty of the painting. Very clear boundaries are present and beautiful golden flowers are portrayed on the blue background. Inside the frame, mysterious world is depicted by the artist to demonstrate the importance of Jahangir. For instance, a huge fish is drawn on the floor of the painting. Portray of fish is out of place and strange because fish is present in open space. This fish may symbolize marine life, since, fish lives in water. Further, relatively smaller ox is standing on the fish and holding the globe on its back. A well-designed golden stand is also present to support the globe. On the globe American, Atlantic Ocean and small portion of Europe is visible from frontal side. Further, in North America we can see some birds and animals, such as, lion, deer, goat, cow and monkey. Maybe these animals symbolize terrestrial live. The depiction of ox holding the earth is very strange and mystifying. Here, I remember my grandmother’s story about earthquake. She tells that the earth is hold by an ox and when ox moves his ear we feel earthquakes. However, I am not sure about the intention of artist, but this story tells us the influence and power of that ox and maybe the ideas of ox in this portrait also indicate power.

Further, the great Mughal emperor Jahangir is standing on the globe. His one foot is on Europe and Atlantic Ocean and his other foot is on American. His size is enormous and he is holding a bow and an arrow. Jahangir’s posture, his size and his place are all carefully selected by the artist to communicate his power to the audiences. As Jahangir is standing on the globe, which is place on the ox and the ox is standing on a fish shows his influence and control on the earth, ocean and all the lives present on land and in water. The brave animals like lion are under his foot which shows his bravery. Moreover, this portrait shows that Jahangir is not only king of India, but his magnificent power is dominant on the earth. On the other hand, a head of black person is on the top of a long stand and an owl is sitting on his head. Most probability he is an enemy of Jahangir. Moreover, in Asia owl is symbol of thoughtlessness. This means that, the enemy of Jahangir is unintelligent and imprudent because he dared to challenge the magnificent king. An arrow is piecing the mouth of that black person. A decorated gun is present next to the stand and the most suspiring and interesting thing in this portrait is two angels in the sky behind clouds are helping Jahangir to demolish his enemy. One angel is offering a beautiful royal sword and other angel is holding arrows. The significance of these angels is to demonstrate the righteous of Jahangir and God’s blessings on him.

This portrait is wonderful example to illustrate the power of Jahangir and the low status, and foolishness of his enemies. This portrait demonstrates Jahangir’s right, power, and fortitude to defeat his enemies. Further, a balance is also present in this painting, which emphasize that Jahangir’s altitude towards his enemies is just. Overall, this portrait explains that, Jahangir is a brave king, God and angels are also with him and his attitude towards him enemies is legal.  Furthermore, different verses in Persian are written on this painting and on the back side of Jahangir’s portrait a decorated golden stand is present with some writings.  Above that stand two birds are flying in the air. These are beautiful birds and most of the time such birds are present in gardens. Maybe these birds signify the gardenlike pleasant atmosphere surrounding Jahangir.

Finally, the portrait of Jahangir shooting his enemy shows the power, bravery, strength, legitimacy, righteous and importance of Jahangir. It also highlights the weakness and inanity of his enemies. Further, this portrait shows that God and angels are also with Jahangir which shows his authority and his legal right to destroy his enemies. The main purpose of this art work is to illustrate the kingly power and great status of Jahangir to terrify his enemies.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: