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Salim’s Shikarnama (‘Hunting Book’), compiled c. 1600 - 1605

During his time in Allahabad, Prince Salim (the future Jahangir) commissioned a number of paintings of hunts that were probably used to create a muraqqa’, an album that can be referred to more specifically as a shikarnama (“hunting book”).

For the Mughals and other Islamic dynasties hunting was an activity imbued with symbolism, the courage and expertise of the royal huntsman a reflection of his capacity to rule. Given this symbolism, it is not surprising that Salim would have commissioned a shikarnama during his time at Allahabad, when he sought to usurp his father’s rule. Salim’s Shikarnama would originally have consisted of openings of facing paintings alternating with openings of facing panels of Persian poetry. None of the surviving paintings thought to be from this album have retained their original outer borders: the Chester Beatty Library’s painting has been crudely taped into borders from a folio that was once part of the Nasir al-Din Shah Album.