Ikhlas Khan and the Assembly of Yogis


Ikhlas Khan and the Assembly of Yogis



The protagonist here is identified as Ikhlas Khan, the Habshi leader and prime minister of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah (1627–56) of Bijapur. His dark complexion, small straight nose, thin raised eyebrows, well-trimmed beard, and more particularly the patterned jama (tunic) confirm his identity.The Museum records earlier identified this figure as Muhammad Adil Shah, which needs to be revised, as it differs from well-established portraits of the sultan.

Here, Ikhlas Khan is listening attentively to the yogi sitting in front of him. The yogi wears a loincloth tied with a rope made of munj (a grass). He has Shaivite tilaka marks on his forehead and upper arms, and spiky matted locks. The other four sages are differently dressed; all wear earrings. The Persian inscription outside the border reads “Dara Shikoh”, which obviously must have been added later on, as the seal on the reverse helps us to date the painting to the year 1639 ce.

The presence of the Mughal army in north and central Deccan influenced the art and lifestyle of the Deccani sultans. Their artists copied Mughal themes and styles.Some of the artists who worked under the patronage of Muhammad Adil Shah were Muhammad Khan (son of Miya Chand), Hyder Ali, and Ibrahim Khan.

The faces are rendered with delicacy and the artist is able to capture the characteristic features of the saints and of Ikhlas Khan, showing the influence of realistic and precise Mughal portraits. The plain green background sparsely decorated with flowering plants was a common feature in Shahjahan’s time (1627-58).

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Miniature Painting


Opaque watercolour and gold on paper






1639 CE




33 x 25 cm (with border), 20.5 x 18.6 cm (without border)