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    Sale 7586

    West ~ East - The Niall Hobhouse Collection

    22 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 341

    THE MULLAH NASIR AL-DIN ON HORSEBACK

    MUGHAL INDIA, LATE 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    THE MULLAH NASIR AL-DIN ON HORSEBACK
    MUGHAL INDIA, LATE 17TH CENTURY
    A rider in red robes, probably the Mullah Nasir al-Din, wearing a quiver and with a bow at his side, whips the emaciated grey horse on which he sits, laid down between blue and gold borders on gold sprinkled white paper, inscription on this mount which reads 'the horse thought to resemble...An East Indian Caricature', some creasing and flaking of paint, mounted, framed and glazed
    Miniature - 7 x 5 1/8 in. (18 x 12.8 cm.)


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    The Mullah Nasir al-Din was a satirical Sufi figure who lived during the Middle Ages in Greater Khorassan. He is remembered for his jokes and humorous anecdotes and the way in which his messages were conveyed in unconventional yet effective methods with a profound simplicity. His stories today are told across a wide variety of regions and have been translated into many languages.

    The emaciated horse in this miniature bears much similarity to three illustrated in Mark Zebrowski, Deccani Painting, London, 1983, nos. 104-106, p. 136-137. Several origins have been proposed for the theme of the starving horse. One suggestion is that they have been derived from European engravings depicting Death (Martin, F.R., The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India and Turkey, London, 1912, p. 93). Another is that they symbolise the baser instincts within man which the mystic must 'starve' to attain enlightenment (Schimmel, A., Mystical dimensions of Islam, North Carolina, 1975, pp. 112-13).

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