Jahangir’s Dream

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Jahangir’s Dream

Yael Rice


Sometime around the early seventeenth century, the painter Abu’l Hasan depicted his patron, the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r. 1605–27), encountering his contemporary and rival, the Safavid ruler Shah ‘Abbas (r. 1588–1629), in a dream. This presentation explores the implications for interpreting this unusual painting as a dream image, and it addresses the important connections between this work and the sacred geography of Ajmer and its environs, the location of Jahangir’s dream and the setting where Abu’l Hasan painted this stunning masterpiece.


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Moin, A. Azfar. The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam. New York City: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Ramaswamy, Sumathi. “Conceit of the Globe in Mughal Visual Practice.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 49, no. 4 (2007): 75182.

Rice, Yael. Agents of Insight: Artists, Books, and Painting in Mughal South Asia. Forthcoming.

Skelton, Robert. “Imperial Symbolism in Mughal Painting.” In Content and Context of Visual Arts in the Islamic World, edited by Priscilla Soucek, Carol Bier, and Richard Ettinghausen, 177–91. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988.

Emperor Jahangir and Shah Abbas in the St. Petersburg Album at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.


A worksheet for this video is available here.

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Yael Rice, “Jahangir’s Dream,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 16 October 2020.

Yael Rice is associate professor of art history at Amherst College. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in the art and architecture of South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran, with a particular focus on manuscripts and other portable arts of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries.