The subject of this miniature was a popular one in eighteenth century Mughal painting. Based on the legend by Farid al-Din 'Attar, Sultan Ibrahim bin Adham (d.776-77), gave up the Kingdom of Balkh to become a Dervish. He was visited by angels who bought him ten dishes of food inciting the jealousy of another poor dervish, also painted into miniatures of this subject. One such miniature, attributed to the Lucknow/Faizabad artist Hunhar and dated circa 1760-70 is in the Polsky collection (Andrew Topsfield (ed.), In the Realm of Gods and Kings. Arts of India, London, 2004, no. 80, pp.196-97). Others, from Lucknow and Murshidabad respectively, are in the India Office Library (Toby Falk and Mildred Archer, Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library, London, 1981, nos.325 and 367) and in The St. Petersburg Muraqqa' (Gavin Bailey, The St. Petersburg Muraqqa, Milan, 1996, pl.90/folio 53 recto). Another very similar miniature, attributed to Awadh, circa 1750, is published in Patrick Carré, Dieux, tigres et amours. Miniatures indiennes du XVe au XXe siàcle, Spain, 1993, pp.112-113.
Many of these miniatures share the fact that they are dependant on European imagery for the figures depicted, probably based on a now lost 17th century version of the subject where Ibrahim was derived from a figure of Christ as depicted in the 'Poor Man's Bible' of 1593 which arrived in the Mughal court in 1595 (Bailey, op.cit., p.81). Another miniature of the same subject sold in these Rooms, 13 April 2010, lot 299.