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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Attributed to Abu’l Hasan, Indian
Courtier Raja Anup Rai Intercepting a Lion Attack, with Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Prince Khurram, drawing (verso); Calligraphy (recto)
Work Type
album folio
c. 1611-1630
Creation Place: South Asia, India
Mughal period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

verso: ink and color on paper; recto: ink, color and gold
verso: 17.9 x 18.5 cm (7 1/16 x 7 5/16 in.)
recto, with border: 25 x 25.5 cm (9 13/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Painting (verso): Inscribed on the border in Persian and Devanagari: "Emperor Jahangir (upper left), Crown Prince Khurram Shah Jahan (upper right), Ani Rai Badgujar landholder of Anup" (bottom center)
    Calligraphy (recto) in shikasta script. The Persian text, by an unidentified author, is a metaphorical description of the act of writing, interspersed with Arabic quotations from the Qur'an and Hadith. "The lone rider in the realm of creation is he who, mounted on the swift steed fo the soul, has galloped into the arena of existence, and seated on a graceful horse has ridden into the avenue of the page. Sometimes he addresses ' a form of poetry is magic,' sometimes he honors 'a form of poetry is wisdom,' honored slogan of those who are in the vicinity of the shrine of prayer, and the pious ornament of those praying at masjid al-haram [Mecca], at times [honoring] not choosing distance from the sense of imagination and effort of the soul, purity of the breast, perforation of the door of the rubicund house of time, the surface of the pen, the black stone of the inkwell, the pillar of the book and the jewels in the border."
    --Translation by Sunil Sharma and Mahdokht Homaee, 2003, From Mind, Heart and Hand

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Stuart Cary Welch, Jr. in memory of Philip Hofer
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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The drawing depicts the Rajput nobleman and Mughal courtier Anup Rai, being attacked by a lion during a royal hunt. He is shown attempting to push the lion’s face away from his. Anup Rai was known as “Singh Dalan” (lion crusher), because he risked his life and intercepted a lion that was about to attack the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). The event took place on January 6, 1611. Jahangir is shown carrying his matchlock gun by the barrel and is about to strike the lion’s head with the butt of his gun. Prince Khurram, who later becomes the emperor Shah Jahan, raises a sword to deliver a blow to the lion’s back.


Publication History

  • Stuart Cary Welch, India, Art and Culture, 1300-1900, exh. cat., Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY, 1985), p. 187, fig 117
  • Milo Cleveland Beach and Ebba Koch, King of the World: The Padshahnama, an Imperial Mughal Manuscript from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, exh. cat., Azimuth Editions Ltd. (London, 1997), 188, fig 108
  • Wheeler Thackston, ed., The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India, Oxford University Press (NY) and Oxford University Press (UK) (New York, NY, 1999), p 117
  • Mary McWilliams, "Welch Gift of Indian, Iranian, and Turkish Art to the Arthur M. Sackler Museum", Apollo, ed. David Ekserdjian, Apollo Magazine Limited (London, England, December 2000), vol. CLII no. 466, pp.12-14, p 12 - 14, fig. 4
  • James Cuno, ed., A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, Mass., Spring 2000), pp. 35-36
  • Stuart Cary Welch and Kim Masteller, From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from the Stuart Cary Welch Collection, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, 2004), pp. 92-95, no. 23

Exhibition History

  • Linear Graces ... and Disgraces: Part II, Drawings from the Courts of Persia, Turkey, and India, 15th-19th Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/26/1994 - 03/05/1995
  • A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions of Islamic and Later Indian Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 06/08/2000 - 09/03/2000
  • From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from SCWelch, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/19/2005 - 06/02/2005
  • 32Q: 2590 South and Southeast Asia, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/07/2018 - 04/17/2019
  • A Colloquium in the Visual Arts, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/27/2022 - 12/30/2022

Verification Level

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