This is a version of the famous scene that also features in the murals of the Chihil Sutun in Isfahan: the meeting of Shah 'Abbas II and the Indian ambassador. A number of artists prepared works copying this subject including Muhammad Zaman. Another version of this scene was painted by Shaykh 'Abbasi, (A. Welch: Shah 'Abbas and the Arts of Isfahan, New York, 1973, p.98). Its influence was still being felt in the Qajar period as shown by the pencase in lot 98 in this sale.
Muhammad Shafi' ( fl. Isfahan, 1628-c. 1674) was the son of Riza 'Abbasi. His style is after the manner of Riza, but he also developed and popularized bird-and-flower painting, a genre his father had introduced to the Isfahan school.
Other examples of his work include Youth Painting a Flower (c. 1635; Washington, DC, Freer Gallery, 53.17), probably a self-portrait; and Bird, Butterflies and Blossom (1063/1651-2; Cleveland, OH, Museum of Art). Two further examples of his figural paintings have recently been sold in these Rooms, 14 October 2003, lot 133 and 27 April 2004, lot 84.