School of Mahmud Muzahhib, Central Asia, Bukhara, Shaybanid, third quarter 16th century
This painting part of a private collection in Switzerland.
Image credit: Sotheby's
Exhibited: Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, 2001
In this miniature, a Sultan who, after hearing rumours that one of his chief judges was behaving improperly, decides to surprise him. He travels to the judge’s house at night on his horse (left outside the gates) and lying drunk in the garden. A youth can be seen here offering him a cup of wine and undressing him at the same time. On the reverse side there is a Persian quatrain addressing a king, copied by the unrecorded Ramz ‘Ali.
The composition of this scene is similar to a painting signed by Mahmud Muzahhib. The same characters, especially the Sultan, the drunken judge and the youth serving him wine, share similar poses and expressions.
Mahmud Muzahhib (known to have been active 1500-1560) is regarded as one of the leading artists of the 16th-century Bukhara school. He played an important role in the establishment of the new kitabkhaneh (book production atelier) in the new Shaybanid capital Bukhara, following the fall of the Timurid Empire and the conquest of Samarqand in 1507.