A Young Prince Riding
Artist/maker unknown, Indian or Afghani
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Most of the characteristics of this painting-from the three-quarter profile to the delicate "floating" flowers-indicate that it was made by a painter trained in the Persian tradition. Humayun, the second Mughal ruler (reigned in India 1530-40 and 1555-56), established the imperial Mughal painting workshop when he hired two master artists from the Persian Safavid court and brought them back with him into India. Humayun is said to have invented the elaborate, plumed turban worn by the rider depicted here, and it appears only in images closely associated with him. The young rider holds a Persian book that begins, "May the world grant you success…" These lofty words-combined with the turban type, the Persian painting style, and the figure's youth-suggest that this might be a portrait of Humayun's son, Prince Akbar.