The Mughal Peacock Watch was inspired by a superbly painted portrait of the future emperor Shah Jahan and his son from the period of Jahangir in the Museum’s collection. The sumptuousness of court life is conveyed in the detailed depiction of the jewels they are admiring, the gilded furniture, the textiles, and, most spectacularly, the large bolster with its designs of figures and plants. The composition is further enhanced by the splendid border containing flowering plants and birds, including partridges, cranes, and the peacocks seen on this watch.
18K gold overlay case, with a stainless steel back. Matte finish. Leather band. Quartz movement. Band: adjusts from 6 1/2''L to 7 3/4"L; Case: 1 1/4''W. Water resistant case.
- 18K gold overlay with a stainless steel back
- Matte finish
- Leather band
- Quartz movement
- Band: adjusts from 6 1/2''L to 7 3/4"LCase: 1 1/4''W
- Water resistant case
Art HistoryAkbar, ruler of the Mughal empire for almost fifty years (r. 1556–1605), was the first great Mughal patron of the arts and, most notably, of the arts of the book. Although he is said to have been illiterate, he assembled a royal atelier from which he commissioned numerous illustrated manuscripts that incorporated Persian, Indian, and even European elements. His son Jahangir (r. 1605– 27) encouraged careful plant and animal studies, and prized realistic portraiture and European subjects. Although Jahangir commissioned books ranging from literary works to historical texts, more common were lavishly finished albums containing paintings and calligraphy samples mounted onto pages with decorative borders. Jahangir’s successor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–58) is most celebrated for his architectural achievements, specifically the Taj Mahal. Paintings from his reign were characterized by formal state portraits and courtly scenes, replacing the more wide-ranging and personal subject matter produced under Jahangir. The most outstanding examples of the Mughal paintings of the periods of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan were assembled for the latter ruler in an album that included the work of some of the greatest painters, illuminators and calligraphers. Forty of the original forty-nine miniature paintings are now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum.