'Pursuit of Pleasure’ from the Portraits of Women series. This is a delicately rendered half-length portrait of a lady by 17th Century Mughal emperor’s artist, Kalyan Das. Portraits of women had been fashionable in Mughal art since the seventeenth century, yet the figures remain enigmatic, since there are very few named portraits of women in Indian painting.
This art of Mughal painting developed as a blending of Persian and Indian ideas. There was a revival of paintings with women during the reign of Mughal emperor Muhhamad Shah. During the first half of the 17th century, many portraits of Mughal court ladies were painted. The emperor encouraged more freedom and a number of paintings from his reign bear women’s signatures showing them engaged in leisure activities.
For us this period was one of the periods emphasizing construction of female identity . Mughal women were the patrons of various cultural activities. Mughal ladies like Noor Jahan Jahanara, Zaib-un-Nisa were educated women of age having their own libraries. Second, they consciously contributed to the cultural life of that period.
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