This image depicts a scene from an Indian (Hindu) story that has been reworked by a Sufi poet to emphasize themes of Islamic mystical thought—the human quest for love symbolizing the search for divine love. The main figure in the story is a prince who appears in this image dressed in the garb of a holy man, his skin covered in bluish ash, carrying a vina, an Indian musical instrument. He has undergone many tribulations in his search for his beloved, who has taken shelter in the palace of her father. As the prince approaches the palace, he encounters a group of women collecting water in a well (seen in this image).  As his gesture suggests, he marvels at the beauty of the women and the surroundings, a common scene throughout the villages and towns of India. This unique blend of Islamic and Hindu stories and imagery was produced for Prince Salim, the future Jahangir and son of Akbar.

 

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