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Zain Khan Koka - Public domain portrait painting

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Zain Khan Koka - Public domain portrait painting

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Summary

This portrait was probably painted for the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605) and depicts Zain Khan, who name was always followed by "Koka", meaning "foster brother" in recognition of his relationship with the ruler: his mother had been Akbar's wet nurse. Zain Khan's daughter married Akbar's son, Salim (later the emperor Jahangir, who ruled from 1605-1627). He had a distinguished career, leading the Mughal armies in campaigns against the Afghans, and becoming governor of Kabul in AH 1005 (1596-97) before dying in battle in AH 1010 (1601-02). He was an accomplished musician, and according to a contemporary chronicler was without equal in his talent for "playing Hindu music". He was also a calligrapher and poet. This portrait is one of many commissioned by Akbar of his immediate circle at court. The portrait was inherited by Jahangir on his accession, and the black inscription identifying the subject of the portrait is in his hand. The painting was bought by the museum in 1965 from the Trustees of the estate of Captain E. G. Spencer-Churchill. Before that it had been in the collection of Warren Hastings, who was Governor-General of India from 1774 to 1785.

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Date

1605
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Wikimedia Commons
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© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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mughal miniatures in the victoria and albert museum
mughal miniatures in the victoria and albert museum